The law requires that medical malpractice lawsuits against doctors and hospitals be brought within a certain time after the patient is injured or after the patient reasonably should have known he was injured by his doctor. If a patient waits longer than the statute of limitations allows to file a law suit against the doctor, the patient’s claim will be forever barred and he will not be able to recover anything from the doctor or hospital, even if the doctor was clearly negligent.
Statutes of limitations vary by state and by action.
In North Carolina, doctors in private practice must be sued by their injured patients within the longer of three years from the date of injury or within one year when the injury should have been discovered, not to exceed four years from the injury causing act. An exception is made for foreign objects left in the patient by a surgeon or hospital staff, in which case the lawsuit must be brought within one year of the discovery of injury but no later than ten years from the date of surgery. Lawsuits for wrongful death must always be brought within two years of the date of death.
In South Carolina, doctors in private practice must be sued by their injured patients within three years from the date of injury or the date the injury should have been discovered, not to exceed six years from the date of the action causing injury. An exception is made for foreign objects left in the patient by a surgeon or hospital staff, in which case the lawsuit must be brought within three years of the surgery or within two years of the date the object ought to have been discovered. If the doctor or hospital is associated with the state government, the time in which you may file a claim is different (usually two years) and the manner in which it must be done is different.
In Tennessee, doctors in private practice must be sued by their injured patients within one year of the injury-causing act or one year from the date of discovery of the injury, but no later than three years from the date of the injury-causing act. The only exceptions are if there was fraudulent concealment by the injuring party or if there was a foreign object left in the patient by a surgeon or hospital staff, in which case the lawsuit usually must be brought within one year of the time when the injury should have been discovered.
If you need our help with a potential medical malpractice matter, call us at 1.800.556.8404.
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