As medical advancements improve the lives of many people, it is easy to believe that doctors and other medical professionals do not make mistakes. The insurance industry has attempted to promote that belief by portraying individuals who pursue lawsuits against medical professionals as greedy or ungrateful. However, the truth is that medical professionals are just as fallible as the rest of us and there are millions of mistakes made every year that lead to unnecessary harm. Many people who are injured as the result of this negligence do not pursue legal claims. Some simply choose not to, others do not realize that they suffered as the result of a preventable mistake. For some that do discover the negligence, it is too late to bring the legal case because the statute of limitations has run.
Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations in Idaho
Every state has a statute of limitations that controls the length of time in which a lawsuit can be commenced against a medical professional who acted negligently or recklessly. Although this statute does not slam shut the doors of the courthouse, it does provide an absolute bar to the lawsuit continuing once the defendant has raised the running of the clock as an affirmative defense – the judge has no discretion to decide anything other than dismissal of the action. Many individuals with strong cases are left with no recourse after they have waited too long, which is why it is important to contact a skilled medical malpractice attorney as soon as a person even suspects that there may have been negligence on the part of a medical professional.
In Idaho, a person who has been harmed by the negligence of a doctor or other medical professional, including a nurse, therapist, psychiatrist, or pharmacist, has two years in which to bring a medical malpractice case. See Idaho Statutes § 5-219. For most cases of medical negligence, the clock starts to run on the date that the injury occurred, whether through an act or an omission. This is in contrast to those states that do not start the clock until the harm is discovered. This places a burden on the victim of the malpractice to learn about the preventable medical mistake in time to prepare a case and file it before the two years has lapsed. However, there are several exceptions to the general rule that extends the time in which to file.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations in Idaho
Under Idaho law, there are a number of exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations. There are cases where the legislature has deemed it fair to extend the time period in which a medical malpractice case can be filed. One of the exceptions applies to cases where the doctor or other medical professional has left a foreign object, such as a surgical sponge, medical implement, or even a piece of a small camera, inside the patient after surgery or another invasive procedure. The reason for this extension is that in many case, it takes years for the foreign object to be discovered. Another exception applies when the person who committed the malpractice takes steps to conceal the act or omission that led to the harm. There must be a demonstration that the doctor or other medical professional committed fraud or took steps to conceal the error in an attempt to avoid accountability for the harm that was done. In either of these circumstances, the statute of limitations does not start to run until the person discovers the harm or should have discovered the injury with the application of reasonable diligence. From the time of discovery, the person has two years to file a legal claim against the wrongdoers.
Stern Law, PLLC Advocates for Those Injured by Medical Malpractice in Idaho
Medical malpractice impacts individuals throughout the State of Idaho. In many cases, the victims of the negligence are convinced by medical professionals that there was no wrongdoing, at least for some period of time, which limits the time that the victims have to commence a legal action after they do become convinced that there was a preventable error. At Stern Law, PLLC, our attorney has fought hard on behalf of individuals who were harmed through medical malpractice for more than 30 years. We know how extensive the harm that results medical negligence can be, including a lifetime of therapy and rehabilitation, lost wages, and an inability to participate fully in the life that a person lived before the malpractice. Our attorneys fight to get our clients the compensation that they deserve for the harm that was suffered.
In addition to skilled representation for our clients, we also provide information and answers for anyone who has been harmed, or believes he or she may have been harmed, as the result of a medical professional’s negligence. We have knowledgeable representatives available to respond to questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of whether or not you are a client. 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.