Important Deadlines to Be Aware Of When Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
Updated: Apr 17
If you or a loved one has been injured because of medical negligence, there are
three very 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.
Second, 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. However (and the third important point),
is that an eight (8) year rule applies as an over-arching cap to these types of cases,
commonly referred to as a “statute of repose,” which means that all medical
negligence claims must be made within eight (8) years. A statute of repose exists
so that parties have time to bring necessary claims, but in most cases there has to
be an end date so that people can move on with their lives and not be burdened
with the threat of a lawsuit that is never-ending.
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, but this time extension is limited to a total of eight years.
On August 1, 2019 Jane is injured by her surgeon due to a negligent act. If she is aware of the harm on that date, she has until August 1, 2022 to resolve her claim against the medical provider or file a lawsuit. If she has not resolved (settled) the claim or filed an action with the court by this date, it will be forever barred
However, if Jane is unaware of the negligent act until after three years has past (she discovers that a sponge was left in her body on August 10, 2022), she then has one year from the date of the discovery to file a lawsuit or resolve her claim. (She has until August 10, 2023.)
Lastly, in the case of a late-discovery, Jane must learn of the negligent act and file a lawsuit no later than eight years from the date of the original act, which means by August 1, 2027.
~ Colleen Mriglot, Attorney at Sherrard McGonagle Tizzano & Lind
Please call our office for a Free Consultation
regarding any Medical Negligence case at (206) 842-5681