From the Day it Happens….NOT From the Day you Know

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Imagine you are given the horrific news that you have cancer, or any other life threatening disease or diagnosis. Your world as you know it is coming tumbling down and you’re looking for help and a way to make it better. Now imagine that that diagnosis could have come sooner and action could have been taken earlier but for the negligence of a doctor, or medical personnel.

Many individuals would believe (as they should) that they should be able to sue the negligent party for their wrongdoing. But that is not always true. Many states start the statute of limitations once the individual becomes aware of the negligence. However, in New York State, the statute begins to run when the negligence occurs, even if the patient does not know about the negligence. A medical malpractice action must be brought within two and a half years from the act or omission complained of or from the end of a continuous treatment during which the act or omission took place. (N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 214a)

This aspect of New York law has come under fire previously, but the controversy has arisen again after a New York woman died of lung cancer and was unable to sue the doctors and the hospital who failed to diagnose the disease. She was not told about a small mass seen on her lung during an x-ray two years ago. She was barred from bringing a lawsuit, as a result of the New York law.

After the woman's death, legislators in the state assembly proposed "Lavern's law," which would have changed New York's statute of limitations so that it would allow a suit to be brought when the negligence is discovered, not when it occurs. Unfortunately, the bill did not come up for a vote in the state senate and therefore no relief appears available for patients in this woman's situation.

If you or a loved one believe you may have been a victim of medical malpractice, do not hesitate, and call an experienced attorney TODAY! Since the clock for financial recovery has likely already started, there may be very little time left to bring a suit. Though the physical recovery side is always the most important, the financial recovery should not be ignored because often the victims have very little time to try and bring a suit against the responsible parties.

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