• Feb
    06
    Posted in:
    Posted by: Jarve Kaplan Granato Starr

    What Is The Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Cases In New Jersey?

    One of the most disheartening injuries that a person can suffer is one that has been caused by medical malpractice or negligence. We are all raised to trust in health care professionals’ skill and dedication, as well as their level of expertise and responsibility. When a physician, nurse, allied health care practitioner or other professional falls short of the duty of care that is expected of them, it can result in pain, catastrophic injury and even death. Victims of medical malpractice have the right to file personal injury lawsuits seeking compensation for the damages that they have suffered, but the ability to file these types of lawsuits are limited by something called a statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is a time limit established to prevent people from filing lawsuits beyond the point of what is considered fair to the defendant or reasonable for discovery purposes. Each state has established its own statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims, and in the state of New Jersey, the statute of limitations is two years – though there are certain exceptions to the rule.

    Generally speaking, victims of medical malpractice in New Jersey are given two years from the date that the “cause of action” accrued to file a lawsuit. The definition of “cause of action” is extremely important, as it does not mean the date that the injury was inflicted: instead, it means the date that the victim became aware of the injury. In cases where the injury is obvious immediately upon an action taking place (such as when a physician operates on the wrong limb) then the date of the surgery would be the date that the cause of action accrued. However, if a physician left a surgical instrument inside of a patient and the patient did not become aware of it until they began to have symptoms six months later, then the date six months later would mark the starting point for the two-year statute of limitations.

    If a victim of medical malpractice dies as a result of the negligence, then rather than the victim filing a personal injury lawsuit, their survivors are able to file a wrongful death medical malpractice claim. The statute of limitation for that type of claim is two years from the victim’s death. The most notable exception to the two-year rule regarding the statute of limitations in New Jersey is for birth injuries and medical malpractice injuries in which children are injured. In cases involving injured children, the claim may be brought up until two years after the child’s 18th birthday, while in cases involving obvious birth injuries the case must be filed by the child’s 13th birthday.

    If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, but you’re not sure if it’s been too long ago for you to be able to file a suit, Jarve Kaplan Granato and Starr are here to help. Contact us today.

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