In what kind of ways can the statue of limitationsfor a malpractice case be lengthened?

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In what kind of ways can the statue of limitationsfor a malpractice case be lengthened?

My mom got her gallbladder removed about 12.5 years ago and found out 2.5 years ago that 6 surgical clips were left inside of her. She was led to believe these clips could be removed up until about 4 months ago, when the doctor told her that operation is no longer an option due to the fact that the clips have calcified within her pancreas. I talked to a lawyer and he told me about the statute of limitations and I was just wondering if there is any way it can be lengthened and how good of a chance does it have to be lengthened?

Asked on January 20, 2012 under Malpractice Law, Montana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In most states, a "discovery" rule applies to the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases. This means that the statute does not start running (is "tolled") until the patient does discover, or reasonably should have discovered, the injury. In this case, that would have been 2.5 years ago. Once the injury is discovered, the statute begins counting down. The fact that your mother looked into surgical procedures to remove the clips has no bearing on the SOL, since you could have sued for the clips having been left in, regardless of whether they could be removed. Therefore, it would seem that her SOL began running around 2.5 years ago.


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