The “Discovery Rule” isn’t something from the Discovery Channel. It’s an incredibly important and potentially life-changing element of medical malpractice law that holds immense power over legal proceedings. If you are entering into a medical malpractice case, it is essential to understand how the Discovery Rule could make or break your case.
The Discovery Rule Alters the Statute of Limitations in Medical Malpractice
The statute of limitations firmly dictates the time limit within which a victim file a lawsuit in response to a crime. If the victim does not file within the statute of limitations time frame, he loses his right to a legal remedy for any wrongdoing that occurred. In Florida, for example, personal injury and property damage both have a statute of limitations of four years. Thanks to the discovery rule, medical malpractice does not follow the standard statute of limitations.
Medical malpractices cases are commonly not immediately apparent to the person who is injured or ill. In fact, it can take months or years for malpractice to become not only obvious but also evidence-based. Because of this, a standard statute of limitations is unfair to the patient who may not even realize she needs to sue until three years after her surgery.
Many states have enacted the discovery rule in order to protect patients who need a route to pursue legal remedy in spite of the statute of limitations. The discovery rule states that the statute of limitations begins as soon as a patient discovers symptoms indicating a bigger problem.
The Discovery Rule in Action
A 90-year-old woman was hospitalized for a rectal prolapse, suffered from complications, and died soon thereafter. Her son believed the hospital was at fault for negligent care and spent two years investigating with a medical consulting firm in order to obtain a professional opinion that the doctors were indeed negligent. The man filed a complaint claiming that his mother’s doctors failed to treat her pneumonia and respiratory distress in a timely manner. He was able to prove the Discovery Rule and the courts allowed the timeline for statute of limitations to begin from that day.
Medical malpractice can occur in many different forms, from nursing home neglect to prescription mismanagement and surgical errors. When your life is on the line, you should only turn to legal professionals who can prove their successful track record with medical malpractice cases. Call 1-800-253-5523 to find out how the team at Catania and Catania can help you seek the malpractice compensation you deserve.