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Westsound Injury Connection

  • Writer's pictureColleen Mriglot

Important Deadlines to Be Aware Of When Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Updated: Feb 1



Update - January 2024

 

If you or a loved one has been injured because of medical negligence, there are important dates to keep in mind. First, under most circumstances a person has three (3) years to file an action against a medical provider for injuries arising from a negligent act. RCW 4.16.350.  https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=4.16.350.  Medical providers include doctors, dentists, nurses, chiropractors, physical therapists, psychologists, and pharmacists, among others.

 

The statute sets out that in addition to the three year rule above, a person (or a representative for the injured person) may also file a lawsuit in such cases within one (1) year from the date of discovering a negligent act (if they are past the three year mark), whichever date is later.  

 

Until recently, an eight (8) year limitation applied under this law, which was an over-arching deadline to these types of cases, commonly referred to as a “statute of repose.” This meant that medical negligence claims had to be made within eight years. In December 2023, the Washington State Supreme Court held that the eight-year statute of repose in medical malpractice actions violates the privileges and immunities clause of Article I, Section 12 of our State Constitution as a matter of independent state law. Thus, the law limiting medical negligence claims to eight years no longer applies. Bennet v. United States of Am., No. 101300-1, 2023 Wash. LEXIS 604 (Wash. Dec. 7, 2023). 


In summary, a person generally has three years to file a lawsuit for medical malpractice. If they are unaware of the negligent act and discover it after the three year time frame, they have one additional year (from the time of discovery) to bring such an action.

 

~ Colleen Mriglot, Attorney at Sherrard McGonagle Tizzano & Lind (Bainbridge Island location)

 

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regarding any medical negligence case

(206) 842-5681

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