Medical negligence and malpractice happen every day, but many of its victims feel completely alone when it happens to them. The fact is that medical malpractice can happen when patients work with individual physicians, clinics, and hospitals. The Bureau of Justice Statistics found that 43,000 malpractice cases were closed in Florida, Maine, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, Missouri, and Texas between 2000 and 2004.
Statute of Limitations and Statute of Repose
You may have heard the term “statute of limitations,” which is commonly used in personal injury cases. This term is used to describe the amount of time a plaintiff has to file a lawsuit. A phrase you may not have heard is the “statute of repose,” which is the final deadline a plaintiff has for filing a claim. In the state of Texas:
- The statute of limitations is two years. If you’ve suffered from medical negligence (or any other personal injury), you typically have no more than two years after the injury/harm to file your case against a person, business, or organization. The specific facts of each case can alter whether the statute of limitations is two years.
- The statute of repose is ten years. While there are select cases where plaintiffs can file a claim after two years, the absolute maximum time allowed to file a claim is ten years from the date of the injury/harm. After ten years, you officially lose your right to file a claim against medical negligence.
While these numbers may motivate you to act quickly, it’s also important to make informed decisions. One such example is the decision to hire a lawyer to represent you. Don’t let attorneys scare you into taking action before you’re ready. At the same time, if you’ve been harmed, contacting a lawyer early in the process will give you more time to pursue your case diligently. Research your options, and always try to have an initial conversation with an attorney before committing.