How long is the statue of limitations for medical malpractice?

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How long is the statue of limitations for medical malpractice?

I took my daughter into my local hospital emergency room for treatment of abdominal pain in early am, 15 months ago. The diagnosis was menstrual cramps (my daughter was about to turn 14 at the time) which meant taking more liquids and some Motrin. We returned home 4 am and I went to sleep leaving my daughter to rest in our downstairs family room. Later, my wife found my daughter hadn’t gotten off the couch and was very lethargic and fainted twice. My wife and other daughter rushed her to a different hospital whereby she was found to have internal bleeding requiring surgery later that same day.

Asked on April 10, 2012 under Malpractice Law, Virginia

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The statute of limitations in Virginia for filing a lawsuit in a medical malpractice case is two years.  You will need to be appointed guardian ad litem to file a lawsuit on behalf of your daughter since she is a minor and a minor cannot file a lawsuit herself. Medical malpractice is negligence.  If your daughter's lawsuit for negligence against the first hospital is not filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations, she will lose her rights forever in the matter.

You should obtain your daughter's medical bills and medical reports from both hospitals.  The medical bills and medical reports from the second hospital can be used to establish the misdiagnosis of the first hospital which is the basis of your daughter's medical malpractice claim.

Prior to filing the lawsuit against the first hospital, it may be possible to settle the case with the first hospital's insurance carrier.  Your daughter's claim should include the medical bills and medical reports from both hospitals.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your daughter's injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  If the case is settled with the first hospital's  insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the first hospital's insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file your daughter's lawsuit for negligence against the first hospital.  If the case is NOT settled with the first hospital's insurance carrier, your daughter's lawsuit must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or she will lose her rights forever in the matter.  If it is getting close to the two year statute of limitations and the first hospital's insurance carrier has not responded or the case has not been settled, file the lawsuit so as not to miss the statute of limitations.


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