The statute of limitations is the period by when you are required to start a lawsuit. The statute of limitations varies depending on the type of claim, and even for the same claim, can vary from state to state.
In New York, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is two and one-half years from the date of surgery. It may be extended for continuous treatment by the same doctor, for the same condition. By contrast, in New Jersey the statute of limitations for medical negligence is two years, but may be extended until the time when the patient discovers his or her injury. The legal definition of “continuous treatment” or “discovery” can be complicated, even to lawyers, and requires careful discussion between you and your attorney.
Too often, I speak to patients with LASIK surgery complications or bad outcomes after their statute of limitations expire. Many could prove negligence or mistakes by their eye doctors. However, their claims, and ability to recover fair compensation for their visual problems, are barred as untimely.
I ask, “Why did you wait so long to call a lawyer?” The answer I get is because the doctor said they would get better with time. Sometimes that may be true. But should the patient wait two years, or longer, on the hope of getting better?
In South Carolina a lawsuit against TLC alleges that its eye surgeons knew patients had ectasia, or other related LASIK malpractice injuries, and did not tell the patients. Instead, the lawsuit alleges that the doctors led the patients along with false hopes and promises of improvements for the purpose of making sure that the patients’ statute of limitations expired.
Certainly not all doctors are that conniving. However, your doctor knows the statute of limitations. So should you. If six months after your surgery you are not getting better, call a medical malpractice attorney in your community to learn the statute of limitations. Making the call should not cost you anything. Making the call will not obligate you to do anything. It’s bad enough to be the victim of a doctor’s negligence. It is even worse to be without any legal remedy. If you know your statute of limitations, then you can make an informed decision whether or not you want to take action. Your rights to be reimbursed for lost income, medical expenses or your pain and suffering should not evaporate without you at least knowing.
If you believe that you or a loved one has been injured as a result of eye surgery negligence, contact the LAW OFFICE OF TODD J. KROUNER for a free initial consultation.