Are there age limits to a medical malpractice suit? Anyone can file a claim. You must follow the malpractice statutes of limitation in your state. You need to file the claim before you run out of time. Note that issues like fraud, intentional concealment and foreign objects are not bound to the statutes of limitation requirements.
California Civil Procedure Code §340.5 states children over the age of six, teens, and adults have either three years after the injury occurred or one year after discovering the malpractice, whichever comes earliest. For children under the age of six, the complaint must be made within three years or before the child turns eight, whichever comes latest.
Startling Facts About Malpractice
A John Hopkins study reported that about 10 percent of yearly deaths, over 250,000 people, are the result of medical malpractice. The report claimed that medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death. These numbers can be hard to verify as medical malpractice is not used on death certificates.
That’s just deaths. Many more cases of malpractice injure or harm patients. It can be a surgical error, incorrect prescriptions, or misreading test results. If you or a loved one is the victim of malpractice, you’re not alone.
Looking at California’s 2017 to 2018 malpractice statistics, there were 4,956 complaints of gross negligence or incompetence. Unprofessional conduct counted for another 2,885 complaints. In all, the state received 10,888 complaints about medical professionals.
Of malpractice cases specific to California, OB/GYNs, general practitioners, ER doctors, orthopedics, and surgeons accounted for the highest numbers in malpractice settlement reports. Holding medical professionals accountable for their misconduct or mistakes is important. It can save someone else from going through the same situation.
Malpractice Cases Don’t Always Lead to a Verdict in Your Favor
When a malpractice case is filed, there are no guarantees you’ll win. The Civil Justice Resource Group found that only 1 percent of malpractice cases make it to trial. Of those cases, only 1 percent win their case. In 7 out of 10 cases, the court reduces the amount awarded to the victim. Despite this, it still is important to try as settlements are often reached before there is even a hearing.
Actor Dana Carvey’s story is a good example of a malpractice case that was settled out of court. After experiencing chest pains and undergoing multiple angioplasties, surgeons scheduled a bypass surgery. Two months later, he still wasn’t feeling great, so another scan was ordered. Doctors found the wrong artery was bypassed during the surgery. Carvey sued the hospital for lost income totaling $7.5 million.
A 10-year-old West Virginia girl went in for a routine surgery to repair her spine after it was determined she had scoliosis. The surgeon made a mistake when inserting the screws and rods that would straighten the spine and led to the spinal cord being compressed. Rather than fix the issue, he closed up and went on vacation. Ten days passed before the surgeon returned and tried to repair the damage, but the girl was already paralyzed at that point. The jury awarded her $135 million.
There Are No Age Restrictions in Malpractice Claims
While there are no age limits on medical malpractice cases, age can affect the outcome. You have to be ready to provide evidence of your claim. An elderly man or woman on a fixed income may be told there’s no way to sue for lost wages from the medical issue, which is often a part of the financial aspect of a malpractice case. They could be told they’re already dealing with a chronic health condition that may have impacted the outcome of a treatment or surgery.
A young child may not be able to speak for him or herself. It would be up to the parent or guardian to act on the child’s behalf.
It doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t try to get compensation for yourself or someone under your care. What you do need is an attorney with the experience to fight for you.
Medical malpractice can happen to anyone. If a medical expert was negligent, consult with an expert. Our attorneys will work with you to make sure your healthcare provider is held responsible for his or her negligence. Contact KJT Law Group for a free case evaluation by calling (818) 873-0181.