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Statutes of Limitations in Medical Malpractice Cases

Nearly all legal claims are governed by statute of limitations laws, which act to limit the amount of time that someone has to file a lawsuit against a party. Medical malpractice is one such field that is governed by a s tatute of limitations. Under Missouri law, anyone that has been injured at the hands of a medical professional has only two years from the start of an underlying medical error to bring a doctor to court for their injury, with some exceptions. Read further to learn more about statute of limitations laws and how your medical malpractice case may be affected.

Explaining Statute of Limitations Laws

Statute of limitations refers to the amount of time that a plaintiff has to bring a lawsuit against a defendant. If a case is filed outside of the designated time period allotted for the specific case, then the court can throw out the case and the right to pursue compensation is lost.

Missouri statute of limitations laws dictate:

  • You have two years from the time the medical error occurred to file a lawsuit;
  • You have two years from the discovery of a mistake to file a lawsuit if a surgeon allowed a foreign object to remain within the body;
  • No medical malpractice case can be brought if the treatment mistake was made more than 10 years before; and
  • Any medical malpractice that occurred to a minor must occur by the time they turn 20 or the 10 year time period has passed, whichever is sooner.

One of the problems with statute of limitations laws is that it can sometimes take a long period of time before someone is actually harmed by the negligence of a doctor, which does not mean that their compensation claim is not invalid. For example, someone that has a piece of sponge left in them after a surgery may not discover this until they experience symptoms at a later date. It would not be fair for a harmed patient to lose their right to obtain compensation before they even realized that they were injured by their care.

Medical Malpractice Attorneys Can Help!

Thankfully, one of the key components in a medical malpractice case is the process of discovery. This means that people who discover their injury outside of the statute of limitations period are allowed the same amount of time to bring a lawsuit. If the same person that had a sponge left inside of them after a surgery discovered this mistake five years following the incident, they will have two years to file a lawsuit against the surgeon. If they ignored their symptoms and chose to neglect getting the piece of sponge removed and then tried to file a claim, it may not be valid.

If you or a loved one have been injured at the hands of a medical professional and are wondering what types of compensation you may be eligible to receive, consult with an experienced lawyer at Millikan Wright, LLC. We offer free initial case consultations with our legal professionals to allow you to explore your options before taking action. You have nothing to lose- give us a call today!

Categories: Medical Malpractice

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