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“Objectively Ascertainable” Injuries And Statute Of Limitations

The plaintiff, John Wyman, filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against Julie Scott after developing a stage IIIC malignant melanoma tumor.

Wyman first went to see Scott after discovering a lesion on the left heel of his foot. Scott evaluated the lesion and diagnosed it as being an infected wart. Scott prescribed an antibiotic and instructed Wyman to return for a follow up appointment for reevaluation. Wyman did not attend the follow up but did visit Scott a couple of month later when his lesion did not improve. Scott looked at the lesion and froze off what she believed to be a wart. Scott again instructed Wyman to return for a follow up appointment and, again, he did not attend.

Two years later, Wyman then went to see a Dr. Jason Scott. Dr. Scott performed a shave biopsy on the lesion. The results showed that the lesion was not an infected wart but rather a malignant melanoma tumor.

Wymans alleged in his initial filing that medical negligence had occurred in that Julie Scott should have performed a biopsy and that, had she done so, the cancer would have been discovered must earlier.

The case seemed to have merit, however, a statute of limitations issue existed. In Idaho, the statute of limitations to file a claim of medical malpractice is two years. Wyman learned of his cancer in 2012 and did not file his lawsuit until 2014, in fact, three days from the two-year anniversary of his biopsy. While it may seem on the surface that Wyman snuck his initial filing just in time, the court did not agree.

More specifically, the court concluded that Wyman’s cancer was “objectively ascertainable” before August 28, 2012 since “objectively ascertainable” means that the existence of the injury is capable of being objectively ascertained. As a result, the district court concluded a two-year statute of limitations barred Wyman’s claims. Finding no reversible error in that judgment, the Supreme Court affirmed.

This technicality only enhances the reasons to seek skilled legal representation when filing a claim of medical malpractice. If you have a claim that you think warrants litigation, do not wait, look into representation as soon as possible.

Medical malpractice can have devastating effects that last a lifetime. If you have been injured by a physician’s neglect, attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian will work to get you the full compensation to which you are entitled. Call 800-529-6162 today or contact them online for a free case evaluation. They handle cases in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.

About the Author

Charles GilmanCharles Gilman
Charles Gilman

As managing partner and co-founder of Gilman & Bedigian, it is my mission to help our clients recover and get their lives back on track. I strongly believe that every person who is injured by a wrongful act deserves compensation, and I will do my utmost to bring recompense to those who need and deserve it.


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