When a person has been injured because of a preventable mistake made by a medical professional, he may think about the many ways in which his life has changed and how he will deal with the new challenges. One of the things this process so difficult is that his doctor or other medical professionals may be advising him in ways that are adverse to his interests, but in the best interests of the medical professional who made the mistake. As the victim of the medical malpractice, or his loved ones, considers his options, he may not realize that the clock is ticking down quickly because there is a limited time in which to file a medical malpractice case in the State of Alabama. In addition, many conditions must be met before a case can be filed and pursued successfully.
Alabama’s Medical Malpractice Statutes of Limitations
In Alabama, the applicable time limits, referred to as the statutes of limitations, do vary depending on the circumstances of the injury. In a general case where a person goes in for medical treatment, suffers significant harm as the result of a mistake, and learns of the problem right away, that individual has two years from the act or omission that led to the harm to file a medical malpractice case. However, if the cause of the harm could not have been discovered within the two-year period, then a person has six months from the date of the discovery of the harm, or from that time when facts reasonably would support the discovery of the negligence. There is an absolute limit of four years on the time in which to file a case, unless the victim of the medical negligence was under the age of four at the time of the negligent act or omissions, in which case, the guardian of the minor can bring an action up until the minor turns eight years of age.
The statutes of limitations apply to any and all legal actions that are brought against healthcare providers. This also applies to situations where the person receiving negligent care died as the result of the wrongdoing. The surviving family member can bring a wrongful death action within two years of the death of the loved one. The damages in this case are treated as punitive rather than compensatory, which has a number of ramifications that must be handled carefully, so choosing the right attorney is important for a variety of reasons.
Other Legal Issues Surrounding the Filing of a Case in Alabama
It is important for a person to retain an experienced medical malpractice attorney because there are other issues that arise in a case, especially if the healthcare provider was working at a hospital or other healthcare facility. If the medical professional was an independent contractor and not an employee or agent of the facility, then the hospital may not be liable. However, it is critical to determine the nature of the relationship early enough to include the facility in the litigation if it is can be demonstrated that the facility did have a fiduciary obligation to oversee the actions of the doctor or other medical professional and breached that duty. Under the doctrine of joint and several liability, each defendant is responsible for the total amount of the harm that was done, so a party can recover the entire damages award or settlement from each of the defendants, or there can be an allocation of financial responsibility.
One other thing that is important to not about Alabama law is that it is one of a minority of states that follows a pure contributory negligence doctrine. This means that if the person who was harmed as the result of the medical negligence contributed in any way to the harm that he suffered, he will not be able to recover damages. It is imperative to have an attorney who understands the myriad of nuances in the law that can impact the bringing of a legal action and the success of that case once it has been filed. The attorney at the Stern Law, PLLC is skilled and works with very experienced associate attorneys in each area in order to provide the most effective legal representation.
Stern Law, PLLC Makes the Difference for Medical Malpractice Victims
Medical malpractice cases involve many complex issues that can limit or preclude a needed recovery if not handled properly. At Stern Law, PLLC, our attorneys have the experience and resources to bring the most successful case possible. For more than 30 years, we have advocated on behalf of our clients to get them the compensation that they need to manage the consequences of the injury. In order to provide answers to everyone who may have suffered from medical malpractice, we have people available to respond to questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call us at 1-844-808-7529 or fill out an online contact form in order to learn how we can help you get through this difficult time.