The statute of limitations is the time period specified by law within which your medical malpractice action must be filed. If you do not file within the applicable statute of limitations period, your claim could be subject to dismissal, preventing you from pursuing the claim regardless of the merits of the case.
Statute of limitations dates vary from state to state. Some states provide that the action be filed within the applicable time period from the date of the injury, while other states allow for a tolling, or extension, of the filing period from the date of discovery of the injury.
Under certain circumstances, if the claimant is incompetent or is a minor, some states allow for a tolling of the statute of limitations until the claimant becomes competent or reaches their majority.
There are also certain notice provisions that have very short limitation periods, especially those that relate to local, state, or federal governmental entities. In certain circumstances, if you do not comply with the statutory notice provisions, you may lose the right to file your lawsuit, even if you act within the applicable statute of limitations period.
The statute of limitations in any particular case may be somewhat difficult to calculate, because a claim may involve different causes of action against different defendants. Once you miscalculate when the statute has run or fail to properly provide statutory notice, your claim may be forever barred despite its validity or the extent of your damages.
The doctrine of joint and several liability holds that a number of defendants who engaged in separate and independent acts of negligence that combined to cause a single injury are held to be jointly and severally liable. In other words, if one party was 1 percent at fault and the other parties were 99 percent at fault, the party who was 1 percent at fault could be held responsible for 100 percent of the damages suffered by the injured party.
The law of joint and several liability varies from state to state, and a number of states have somewhat complicated variations or modifications of this rule.
Vicarious liability concerns the ability to hold institutions or companies liable for the acts of their non employee affiliated personnel. For example, in some states, a hospital may be liable for the negligence of a physician acknowledged to be an independent contractor, while in other states, hospitals may not be liable for the acts of non-employee members of the medical staff.
In certain states, a plaintiff in a medical malpractice suit must file a certificate of good faith, or a similar document, that states that a medical expert has reviewed the file and has determined that there is a good-faith basis for a malpractice claim.
Medical errors happen. Your best defense against a medical error is taking a pro-active stance in your healthcare. If you suspect that you are the victim of prescription medication malpractice you should contact a qualified medical malpractice lawyer immediately for advice.