Harris Powers & Cunningham HPC Law Offices

Harris Powers & Cunningham

Serious Injury & Wrongful Death Attorneys

How long do I have to file a medical malpractice claim?

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2022 | Medical Malpractice

When a doctor or member of medical staff fails to provide a patient with the care they deserve, the patient can suffer considerable injuries, suffering, or even death. Anyone can suffer from medical malpractice, and a malpractice claim may be the only method of covering the resulting costs.

A medical malpractice claim may be appropriate if you or a loved one was harmed because a health care professional deviated from the acceptable standard of care. In Arizona, what that means is a provider must “exercise that degree of care, skill and learning expected of a reasonable, prudent health care provider in the profession or class to which he belongs within the state acting in the same or similar circumstances” (A.R.S. § 12-563).

While you may need to file a claim, you have a limited time to take action.

Do not wait to file a claim

Generally, the statute of limitations for an alleged action of medical malpractice in Arizona is TWO YEARS. (A. R. S. § 12-542(I)). What this specifically means is the injured party must file a lawsuit within two years after the date of the injury. However, if the victim is a minor or the victim does not have the mental capacity, then the statute of limitations may be tolled (Arizona Revised Statutes section 12-502).

What if the injury isn’t discovered right away? Great question! Typically, in Arizona the statute of limitations period does not begin to run until the plaintiff’s injuries are actually discovered, or until the date in which the plaintiff’s injuries should have reasonably been discovered. Mayer v. Good Samaritan Hospital, 14 Ariz. App. 248, 482 P.2d 497 (1971).

For example, say you are involved in a surgery where one of the medical professionals leaves an unintended piece of medical equipment in your body after they close you up. You may not know this happen or begin having problems until a few months down the road. In this case, the statute of limitations would begin once you found out about the foreign object in your body.

 

Additionally, If your claim involves a public entity or public employee, it’s more important than ever to move fast! These types of claims require special attention as there are more procedural steps and technicalities than other claims.

The statute of limitations to file a claim against a public entity or public employee is only ONE YEAR after the cause of action (A.R.S. § 12-821). This statute creates a much shorter time for filing than the two year period within which claims can be filed against other defendants.

Before a lawsuit can be filed against a public entity or employee, you must first file what is called a NOTICE OF CLAIM. A notice of claim is basically an extra procedural step that a party must make to provide the public entity with notice of an upcoming lawsuit. The notice of claim must be filed within 180 DAYS after the cause of action (A.R.S. § 12-821.01). This is an extremely important step because statute states, “any claim that is not filed within one hundred eighty days after the cause of action accrues is barred and no action may be maintained thereon.”

Act now to get the compensation you need

Time is not on your side after a medical malpractice incident. If a doctor or nurse’s negligence caused you to suffer serious injuries, contact a personal injury attorney to begin your claim right away.

Although you or your loved one may be struggling with injuries from malpractice, you should not wait to file your claim. Waiting two years to file a claim can reduce the likelihood of earning the compensation you deserve. Certain evidence, like witness testimony or documentation, may not be as credible over time. Memories can fade, documents can be lost, and proving the severity of your injuries can be harder if they have begun to heal.

A skilled lawyer can act on your behalf to file your claim and provide you with the settlement you deserve for your injuries. Schedule your FREE consultation today by calling 602-910-6779. You can also email us. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain, so reach out for help today.

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