Malpractice can occur when you undergo medical treatments and get injured or develop unwanted side effects. Of course, you could sue the healthcare provider for their mistake if you have proof. However, you might be wondering whether you can file your medical malpractice even after a long time has passed.
Yes, you can sue for medical malpractice years after treatment, but you still have a time limit to comply with. So let us look closer into your filing deadlines and other Maryland laws affecting them.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Medical Malpractice Case After Treatment?
According to the statute of limitations in Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 5-109, a medical malpractice case can have a different deadline depending on when you discovered the injury. The law states you must file your lawsuit–at a maximum–within five years from when your medical provider injured you during treatment. Therefore, if you got treated and injured in 2018, you only have up until 2023 to bring your suit to court.
However, you only have three years form teh time you knew about your injury to file suit. So if you knew about hte injury when it happened, you must file suit within three years from the date of the injury.
Circumstances That Could Extend Your Deadline To File a Malpractice Case
Depending on your malpractice incident, you could have tolling exceptions in your case. These particular circumstances could further extend your deadline, even if it has been years since the treatment. Let us look into some of them here.
When the Patient Has a Disability
Under Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 5-201, a patient who is currently mentally incapable of filing their case will have the statute of limitations tolled for them until their disability is removed. This may involve proving that you had a mental issue for a certain period.
If the Healthcare Provider Is Away from Maryland
Another possible tolling exception is if the liable healthcare provider is away from Maryland, regardless of whether they are in another state or country. Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 5-205 will suspend the statute timer until they return. You would have first investigated their whereabouts to prove that they were absent from Maryland for a certain period of time.
When Fraud Is Involved
Likewise, Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 5-203 could also stop the statute clock if the healthcare provider acted fraudulently during the medical treatment. The timer will only begin once you discover the fraud or should have discovered it within reasonable means.
Deadlines are Different for Minors
Was it your child that got injured during the medical treatment? Maryland’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases provides different filing deadlines if the injured patient is still a minor.
If your child is below 11 years of age, the statute clock would only start counting down when they reach 11 years old. If the child is under 16, the timer will begin when they turn said age. However, Maryland’s Court of Appeals deemed these laws violated the state’s Declaration of Rights. Therefore, the statute of limitations should start once the child turns 18.
Given the discrepancy in the laws, it would be prudent to consult first with a medical malpractice lawyer to determine your actual time limit. They already have a deeper understanding of your case’s relevant laws, including your filing deadlines. Thus, they can check if any tolling exceptions apply to your malpractice suit.
The Importance of Filing Your Malpractice Lawsuit Before the Deadline
Even if you have ample time before the statute of limitations runs out, it would still be wiser to start working on the medical malpractice suit sooner than later. This way, you could manage your time better if other priorities come up instead of rushing at the last minute to bring your case to court.
Whatever your deadline may be, compliance is a must. Maryland’s civil court will automatically dismiss your case if you fail to meet the deadline. In addition, it would bar you from recovering any settlement from the at-fault medical provider.
Get Help with Your Case from a Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
Complying with the statute of limitations is crucial to recovering damages in your malpractice case. To know for sure whether you can sue for medical malpractice years after treatment, reach out to the office of Brown & Barron. We can assist with the various filing requirements to speed up your case development. For instance, we can help process the legal documents and gather information on the healthcare provider’s liability.
You can consult with us anytime by calling our 24/7 support team or speaking with our online live chat. You can also send us the details of your medical malpractice incident through our contact form.