We all rely on medical professionals to provide responsible care for us when we are sick, injured, or seeking preventative or diagnostic help. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers undergo years of intensive education and training to prepare for the complex and high-stakes nature of professional medicine. As a result, we expect a high standard of care when we entrust these providers with our health and safety.
Unfortunately, thousands of people die every year as a result of preventable medical errors and other types of medical malpractice. A Johns Hopkins study found that medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the United States. If you were injured due to a medical error, you could be entitled to compensation for your losses. However, you must take prompt action to avoid losing your opportunity to bring your claim due to an expired deadline under the statute of limitations.
Do not wait to contact the experienced Missouri medical malpractice lawyers of Sumner Law Group, LLC to get started on your claim before the deadline draws near. Contact us today to discuss the details of your medical malpractice case in a free initial consultation.
Missouri’s Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
All medical malpractice cases in Missouri are subject to the state’s statute of limitations, which limits the amount of time you have to take certain types of legal action.
When it comes to medical malpractice lawsuits, the law gives you two years from the date of the suspected malpractice to file a lawsuit against the negligent party. If you fail to file your lawsuit within the established two-year period, you will almost certainly lose your right to demand compensation in court.
Potential Situations That Extend the Deadline
The two-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice is a strict legal deadline. If you try to file a lawsuit after the deadline has expired, the negligent provider will have every right to ask the court to dismiss your case, and judges will likely agree to do so.
However, certain situations could extend the standard two-year deadline, such as:
- Delayed discovery of malpractice – For example, if a medical provider negligently leaves a foreign object inside a patient’s body after surgery or fails to inform a patient about their medical test results, the patient may have no way of discovering the malpractice for months or even years. When this type of malpractice occurs, patients have two years from the date when they discovered or reasonably should have discovered the error to sue. However, another Missouri law called the “statute of repose” says all medical malpractice lawsuits must be filed within 10 years of the alleged medical error, regardless of the type of error or when it is discovered.
- Malpractice involving children – If a child under the age of 18 is injured by medical malpractice, Missouri law requires any related lawsuits to be filed within two years of the child’s 18th birthday. The usual statute of repose does not apply to malpractice claims involving minors, so children who are injured by medical errors have until their 20th birthday to file lawsuits against negligent providers.
How Our Lawyers Can Help You Meet the Statute of Limitations
The medical malpractice attorneys of Sumner Law Group, LLC understand the devastating effects a medical error can have on your health, finances, and quality of life. We are eager to act as your legal advocates so you can put your best foot forward when it’s time to claim compensation for your injuries and avoid having your case derailed or delayed by preventable errors.
We can help you meet the Missouri medical malpractice statute of limitations by:
- Reviewing every detail of your case to determine the exact date of your filing deadline.
- Managing necessary paperwork, documents, and deadlines on your behalf to ensure everything is filed accurately and on time.
- Determining whether any factors exist that could extend your filing deadline.
- Negotiating aggressively to move insurance talks along as quickly as possible.
- Filing a lawsuit on your behalf before the relevant statute of limitations expires.
Why It Is Best to Talk to a Lawyer Quickly
If you suspect you were injured in a medical malpractice incident, it’s in your best interest to talk to a knowledgeable lawyer as soon as possible. Medical malpractice cases tend to be incredibly complex and frequently take a long time to investigate.
Two years may sound like a long time, but it could pass in the blink of an eye after you factor in how long it could take to access your medical records, investigate the malpractice, develop a strong case, and engage in one or more rounds of negotiation.
When you secure the help of a trusted attorney from day one, you can rest assured that your case will be handled professionally and promptly. A good lawyer can efficiently manage the complex and time-consuming aspects of your case while you focus on your health.
What Constitutes Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a health care provider or facility causes harm to a patient through negligent acts or a failure to act. Types of negligence that could constitute malpractice include:
- Diagnostic errors, delayed diagnoses, or failure to diagnose
- Misinterpretation or ignorance of laboratory test results
- Recommending or performing unnecessary surgeries
- Surgical errors and surgeries performed on incorrect patients or body parts
- Prescribing or administering improper medications or dosages
- Inadequate aftercare or premature discharge
- Failure to order proper testing or consider relevant patient history
Affidavit Prior to Filing Suit
Missouri law requires you to file an affidavit of merit with the court within 90 days of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. This affidavit must declare that you consulted with a qualified medical expert about the case and that the expert agrees that your injuries were caused by medical malpractice.
If more than one medical provider is named in the lawsuit, you must file a separate affidavit for each negligent party detailing their specific role in causing your injuries. If you fail to file an affidavit of merit before beginning your medical malpractice lawsuit, the court will likely dismiss your case.
Contact Our Experienced Missouri Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
At Sumner Law Group, LLC, our Missouri medical malpractice lawyers are ready to help you seek fair compensation if you’ve been injured or have become ill due to the negligence of a medical professional.
Contact us today for a 100% free and confidential consultation today.