When people go to the hospital or visit their primary care physician, they expect to be treated with respect, dignity, and quality medical services. After all, they’d be in the hands of professionals with years of academic studies and hands-on practice. However, this may not necessarily be the case for thousands of patients in Maryland. Every year, thousands of unsuspecting patients are misdiagnosed, which can lead to many health issues. As a misdiagnosis victim in Maryland, you may wonder whether you can file a claim against a negligent physician. The short answer is yes. However, you may have a limited time to do so. Our Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys from Bennet & Heyman explain.
What is the Statute of Limitations for a Misdiagnosis in Maryland?
Any person who was injured due to medical malpractice – also called medical negligence – can have the right to file a lawsuit against the liable parties. However, like any lawsuit, you have a limited time to file your claim with the court. This is known as the statute of limitations. If you wait for too long to file your claim, you may lose your chance to fight for compensation. In other words, waiting for too long or missing your legal deadline to file your lawsuit can put your claim at risk. Typically, the court will refuse to hear your case once the statute of limitations has passed.
Generally, you have up to five years from the injury’s date or three years from its discovery, whichever happens first. The statute of limitations exists to ensure all claims are filed on time while the evidence and testimonies can be obtained. Additionally, limiting your filing time can help defendants avoid perpetual liability.
However, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice can change. It is critical to understand how the various statutes of limitations can impact your particular case. Your filing time – based on the statute of limitations – can change depending on the following:
The Injured Victim Was a Minor
If a minor got injured due to a misdiagnosis – or any other medical malpractice – the statute of limitations can change. The legal deadline to file a lawsuit does not start until the victim turns 18, regardless of their age when they got injured. For instance, if the minor was a victim of birth injury, they would have until they reach the age of 21 to file their claim. The most critical element in these cases is gathering the necessary evidence to prepare your case and filing it on time. Depending on your circumstances, gathering all the required evidence can be challenging, especially if the misdiagnosis in your case happened when you were a minor. A Maryland misdiagnosis attorney can help you with these matters.
Fraudulent concealment happens when a medical professional engages in malpractice and then conceals it. For instance, a healthcare professional can cover their malpractice by not communicating their actions or omissions to their patients or by misrepresenting an issue, which can lead to a patient’s medical issues. In these cases, the statute of limitations may be tolled when the defendant concealed essential, critical information to the plaintiff. Our Baltimore hospital negligence attorneys can help you file your medical malpractice claim after your misdiagnosis.
Statute of Repose
The statute of repose can have a significant impact on your ability to file a claim after medical malpractice. This statute sets a definitive filing deadline regardless of the time the injury was discovered. This means that you can lose the chance to fight for your compensation if the statute of repose runs out. In Maryland, the statute of repose is set to five years from the date the injury occurred. This means that if you discovered your injury six years after such an injury occurred, you may be barred from pursuing legal action against the liable parties.
The Discovery Rule
The discovery rule can be tied to the statute of repose discussed above. There are instances where a victim may not be aware that medical malpractice has happened. Maryland’s discovery rule takes this reality into account, extending the time a victim has to file their claim. However, there is a caveat. You only have five years to file your claim – the same as stated within the statute of repose.
The Challenges of Extending the Filing Time After a Misdiagnosis in Maryland
While it is possible to extend the time that you have to file your claim for your misdiagnosis in Maryland, such an extension comes with its challenges. First, as a plaintiff in your misdiagnosis claim, you have the responsibility to provide the evidence that can justify the concession of a filing extension. You will be required to prove you did not know or had no knowledge of your injury, or you could not have discovered such an injury until time had passed.
Moreover, the court expects you to prove that you did not – or otherwise could not – know that your misdiagnosis happened the precise moment it did. It is essential to receive the assistance of an experienced Maryland misdiagnosis attorney who can help you at this time. Proving your knowledge about your misdiagnosis and subsequent injuries can have a significant impact on your case. Your attorney can help you prove your claim and help you get the compensation you are entitled to.
Maryland Misdiagnosis Attorneys Offering Free Consultations
If you or a loved one was misdiagnosed in Maryland, you can fight to get compensation. Our Maryland medical malpractice attorneys have the experience, knowledge, and skill necessary to help you understand what to expect from your case and fight aggressively against those who harmed you. We know a misdiagnosis can be overwhelming, and the last thing you may want is to fight an uphill battle against a negligent doctor. However, we can fight in your stead while you focus on the things that matter to you. To learn more about our legal services in a free, confidential consultation, call Bennett & Heyman today at (410) 429-7856.