Can You Sue for Medical Malpractice Years Later?
When a person suffers harm because of a medical professional’s negligence, they are allowed to file a medical malpractice claim against the negligent medical professional and recover compensation. But if you experienced medical malpractice years ago or have just recently started experiencing symptoms after a medical malpractice incident that occurred years ago, can you still file a medical malpractice claim and recover compensation? In Georgia, medical malpractice claims have filing deadlines. Depending on how much time has passed since the medical malpractice incident, you may or may not be eligible to file a medical malpractice claim. If you experienced medical malpractice years ago or have just recently started experiencing symptoms after a medical malpractice incident that happened years ago, speak to a qualified medical malpractice attorney for legal guidance. An attorney can assess your case and determine if you can file a claim and how long you have to file a claim.
Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations in Georgia
The statute of limitations in Georgia limits how much time you have to bring forward a medical malpractice claim. Usually, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims in Georgia is two years from the date of the malpractice. For instance, if you suffer a traumatic brain injury during surgery due to a surgeon’s negligence and symptoms of the injury only start to appear a year and a half later, the statute of limitations period generally is calculated from the time the surgery was performed, even though the symptoms did not become apparent until later. However, cases involving foreign objects left inside patients during surgery are treated differently. These cases can be filed at any time within a year of discovering the object.
There are some exceptions to the general statute of limitations. For example, if a new injury occurs subsequent to the initial malpractice (e.g., cancer metastasizes), the new injury may trigger the running of the statute of limitations at a later date. Also, if the healthcare provider fraudulently conceals the cause of action from the plaintiff, that can also extend the statute of limitations.
Georgia also has a law called a statute of repose. Under this law, you have up to five years after the medical malpractice incident happened to file a medical malpractice claim. Unless there is concealment, fraud, or misrepresentation, you cannot file a Georgia medical malpractice claim more than five years after the actual malpractice incident.
Statute of Limitations for Minors
It is crucial to note that the statute of limitations and statute of repose also apply to minors in Georgia, but the rules are different. For children aged five years or older at the time of the malpractice, the typical two-year statute of limitations applies. However, for children under five years of age at the time of the malpractice, they have until two years after their fifth birthday to bring an action that arose before their fifth birthday. In addition, the statute of repose provides that no lawsuit may be brought on behalf of a minor after their 10th birthday if the child was under age five when the malpractice occurred, or after five years from the date of the malpractice if the child was five or older when the malpractice occurred. Note, however, if a parent has a claim for damages in their own right, their claim may be subject to the standard statute of limitations and statute of repose even if their child’s claim may be extended because of the special rules applicable to minors.
Contact an Atlanta Medical Malpractice Attorney
Determining how much time you have to file a medical malpractice claim or if the time limit for filing your claim has expired can be complex. If you need help determining if you have a claim for medical malpractice, contact our qualified Atlanta medical malpractice attorney at Carroll Law Firm.