Different states have different laws, when it comes to medical malpractice. Sometimes these differences can make a huge difference in how much compensation you can get for an injury caused by a doctor's error. Other times, they can prevent you from even filing a lawsuit in the first place.
The state of New York – usually seen as the front-runner in a lot of legal issues – is significantly behind the curve when it comes to an extremely important aspect of medical malpractice lawsuits: It is one of only six states that requires a lawsuit to be filed within a certain amount of time after the malpractice itself, rather than after the malpractice was discovered. Because of this important difference in the law, medical malpractice victims in New York are often left hopeless to get the compensation that they deserve for an injury that they did not cause.
Luckily, there is movement to correct this oversight, and provide patients the protection that they deserve.
New York's Medical Malpractice Law Is Out-of-Touch
The way New York's medical malpractice law is right now, patients are easily left out in the cold for injuries caused by medical malpractice.
Victims of medical malpractice in New York have a mere 15 months to sue a public hospital, and 2.5 years to sue a private hospital for their injuries. As if this timeframe were not already short enough, it begins to toll from the instant the malpractice occurs. If the effect of the malpractice does not present itself for 3 years, then the suffering patient has absolutely no recourse, no matter how devastating the injury.
Lavern Wilkinson was the perfect example of how harsh this can be. Ms. Wilkinson went to a public hospital for chest pain in February 2010, but was sent home soon thereafter. She was actually suffering from lung cancer, but the doctors later admitted that she was not properly diagnosed. When she went back to the hospital in May, 2012, the cancer had spread to her other lung, her liver, her brain, and her spine. Because the misdiagnosis had happened more than 15 months ago, though, she was not able to sue for medical malpractice.
Nearly all other states in the U.S. give victims of malpractice a set time period to sue that starts from the discovery of the error.
New York is finally trying to rectify this oversight. However, the bill that would change the rules – called “Lavern's Law” – died in the state's Republican-controlled state senate.
However, on May 16, no fewer than 33 organizations signed off on a letter to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders, calling for the change to the statute of limitations applied to medical malpractice suits, and urging them to try passing Lavern's Law once again.
Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorneys
The medical malpractice attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian urge the state of New York to adopt Lavern's Law, and prevent countless patients from being unable to get the compensation that they deserve for the injuries that they have suffered. If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice in Maryland or the Baltimore area, contact our law firm online or at (800) 529-6162.