• A Question about Medical Malpractice Statue of Limitations for Children in New York

We received this email question from a woman suffering as a result of medical malpractice that happened to her as a child:

I am going blind due to medical malpractice when I was a child and I am only 30 years old.  I don’t know if I can do anything but I figured it would not hurt to ask. I want to know about the limitations that New York State has for cases like mine.

Answer on the New York Statute of Limitations for a Medical Malpractice Case

I am sorry to hear about the problems with your eyesight. You are right to ask about the impact of the statute of limitations. The statute for standard medical malpractice cases in New York is 30 months (two and a half years). There is an exception for children who suffer from an act of malpractice. In those cases, the clock does not start ticking until the person turns 18. Therefore, the statue could extend 30 months from the person’s eighteenth birthday. However, there is an absolute limit of ten years, so an action needs to be started no later than ten years from the date of the medical malpractice.

Let me give some examples:

  • If the child was 16 when the malpractice happened, then the child has until 30 months after his or her 18th birthday to bring a lawsuit.
  • If the child was 10 and the malpractice happened on the child’s 10th birthday, then the child has until he or she turns 20 to bring a lawsuit because there is an absolute limit of 10 years to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit
  • If a child was 1 and the malpractice happened on the child’s first birthday, then the child has until the 11th birthday to bring suit because there is an absolute limit of 10 years to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Because all deadlines would have passed by the time you turned 30, I am afraid that the statute of limitations will prevent you from filing a lawsuit over a malpractice that occurred during your childhood. I know that this will be frustrating for you. It seems unfair that a deadline passed before you even knew that the malpractice had occurred. Unfortunately, the law is written to provide absolute deadlines.

I know this is not what you wanted to hear, but I hope this information helps.

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This material is intended for informational uses only. It is not meant as legal advice. To receive legal advice, you should consult an attorney. Remember, past results do not guarantee similar outcomes in the future.

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