I'm Joseph Taraska an attorney in the medical malpractice department at Morgan and Morgan.
I will be regularly posting this blog to help you understand your rights if you or a family member believe you have been injured by a medical error.
The first thing you must known is that there is a time limit for you to file a claim. If you miss the time even by one day you will be forever barred from bringing a claim. So how much time do you have? This depends on when you first suspected that malpractice occurred causing you or your family an injury. That is the day the time period begins to run. However, using this as your starting point can often lead to an argument later that the time actually stated earlier. As a result it's best to be conservative and start counting the time from the day of the medical incident.
Once you have your starting date the law allows you two years to bring your claim. Although this seems like a lot of time it's unwise to wait. Rather you should contact an attorney as soon as you become aware of the possible malpractice. This is because these are very complex cases that take a great deal of time to properly investigate. In fact, because of their complexity, there are only a limited number of attorneys in the state who specialize in these cases. For example, our attorneys will first obtain the facts from you and then proceed to obtain all the necessary medical records. Although there are laws requiring the records to be produced quickly, this does not always occur and may require us to intervene. At Morgan and Morgan, once we have your records, they are reviewed to ensure they were all produced and there are no alterations. We then send them to medical experts around the country who specialize in the medical care you were provided. If malpractice occurred they will sign a sworn affidavit which will then be sent to the health care provider who committed the mistake. This starts your claim.
There are some exceptions to the two year rule which can be complex and generally require the analysis of an attorney. For example if it was impossible to determine that malpractice occurred in that two years the time may be extended. Similarly for children younger than eight, under certain circumstances there may be an extension. However even these extensions have definite time limits.
As you can see, this process is not only time consuming but takes expertise in the field. Morgan and Morgan is one of the few law firms in the state that have an entire department of lawyers and staff dedicated to these cases. If you believe you have been injured by such an error please do not hesitate to contact us.