If you or somebody you care about has been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of a medical professional, you should be able to recover compensation for your losses. However, victims of medical errors need to know that they have a limited amount of time to file these claims in court. Here, we want to discuss what you can do if you have been injured due to a medical mistake, but some time has passed since the incident. 

Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations in California

When we examine California law regarding the medical malpractice statute of limitations, we can see that these claims must be filed “within one year after the plaintiff discovers, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have discovered, the injury” (California Code of Civil Procedure section 340.5). 

Additionally, there is an overall statute of repose listed in California’s law which states that all medical malpractice claims must be brought within three years from the date of the incident, regardless of when the patient discovers the mistake. This allows for some leeway if a person fails to discover the injury or illness caused by a medical error within the first year after it occurred.

Are There Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations You Need to Know?

There is an exception to the overall three-year medical malpractice statute of limitations, and this exception occurs when a person discovers that a foreign object was left inside their body as a result of medical negligence. This could include a medical instrument, a surgical sponge, or any other medical device that is not supposed to be there. In these situations, the one-year discovery still applies, but there is no overall time limit applied to the case. A person who discovers a foreign object left in their body five years after an incident can still file a medical malpractice claim within one year of the date of discovery. The overall three years statute of repose does not apply when there is a foreign object involved.

Another exception to the California medical malpractice timeline is if a victim is under the age of six years old when the incident occurs. Even if more than three years have passed since the medical malpractice occurred, the lawsuit can be filed anytime before the child’s eighth birthday.

Finally, the statute of limitations can be paused for a period of time under certain circumstances, including if the defendant intentionally hid the malpractice or committed fraud. 

Work With a Skilled Medical Malpractice Attorney

Any person who sustains an injury or illness caused by the negligent actions of a medical professional should be able to recover compensation for their losses in California. Medical malpractice claims are very difficult to pursue, but they are crucial to helping victims recover the compensation they need to make as full over recovery as possible. It is important for medical malpractice victims to recover compensation for any medical expenses caused by the incident, lost income if they are unable to work, physical and emotional pain and suffering damages, and more.

We encourage you to work with a skilled Los Angeles medical malpractice lawyer who can examine the facts of your case. Dr. Fagel Is both a doctor and a lawyer, and he is ready to handle every aspect of your claim so you can recover the compensation you need.