What’s the Missouri Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations?

May 20, 2024Medical Malpractice

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When medical professionals in St. Louis, Missouri, deviate from the accepted standard of care and cause harm to patients, the people they injure have the right to pursue justice via a medical malpractice claim. Don’t know what the medical malpractice statute of limitations in Missouri is? Medical malpractice law is complicated, and there are time limits for filing a lawsuit. Pursue compensation for your injuries with a seasoned St. Louis medical malpractice lawyer on your side.

Missouri’s Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations

What is the statute of limitations on medical malpractice? The statute of limitations establishes the legal timeframe for a plaintiff to file a lawsuit after an alleged offense occurs. In Missouri, the medical malpractice statute of limitations typically grants victims two years from the date of the alleged malpractice to commence legal proceedings against the negligent healthcare provider. Failing to file a claim within this two-year window can lead to the court dismissing the claim. This thereby denies the victim the chance to pursue compensation for their injuries and losses.

The two-year countdown begins on the date the malpractice occurred, not necessarily when the patient discovers the harm. Either is it when the full extent of the injuries becomes apparent. This nuance can have significant implications for patients who may not immediately realize they have been victims of medical negligence.

Exceptions to the Rule

What are some exceptions to Missouri’s medical malpractice statute of limitations? Although the two-year statute of limitations applies to most medical malpractice cases in Missouri, certain circumstances can modify or extend the filing deadline. Understanding these exceptions is vital for patients seeking to protect their legal rights.

  • The Discovery Rule — In some instances, patients may only discover the malpractice well after the act of negligence occurs. Missouri’s “discovery rule” allows the two-year clock to start ticking from when the patient discovers or reasonably should have discovered the malpractice.
  • Minors as Plaintiffs — When a medical malpractice victim is a minor under 18, the statute of limitations time period doesn’t start. This doesn’t start until the minor reaches the age of majority.
  • Wrongful Death Claims — If medical negligence tragically results in a patient’s death, surviving family members may pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death cases are subject to a three-year time limit.
  • Fraudulent Concealment — If a healthcare provider intentionally hides or misrepresents the malpractice, the court may extend the statutory period. This is only if the provider prevented the patient from discovering the negligence.

Safeguarding Your Right to Justice

Given the strict and often unforgiving nature of Missouri’s medical malpractice statute of limitations, it is important to take proactive measures to protect your legal rights. This also helps you preserve their ability to seek the compensation they deserve.

  • Prioritize Your Health — Seek the necessary medical treatment and care to address any ongoing health concerns and mitigate further harm.
  • Document and Preserve Evidence — Collect and safeguard any evidence supporting your medical malpractice claim. This includes medical records, diagnostic test results, photographs, witness accounts, and correspondence with healthcare professionals.
  • Seek Legal Counsel — Medical malpractice cases are inherently complex and challenging to navigate without experienced legal representation. Consulting with a seasoned medical malpractice attorney can assist you in comprehending your rights. They can also help you assess the merits of your claim and undertake the requisite measures to safeguard your interests.
  • Act Without Delay — The strict time limits set by Missouri’s medical malpractice statute of limitations underscore the importance of taking prompt action. The importance of timely action in medical malpractice cases cannot be understated.

The Consequences of Inaction

Failing to file a medical malpractice lawsuit within Missouri’s statute of limitations timeframe can have consequences for victims and their families. If a victim initiates a claim after the relevant deadline has passed, the court will likely dismiss the case. This effectively prevents the victim from seeking compensation for their injuries and losses, regardless of the severity.

Furthermore, swift action can help preserve crucial evidence, enhance the prospects of securing essential witness testimony, and underscore the seriousness and urgency of your claim. By acting promptly, you can fortify your legal stance and enhance the likelihood of obtaining a favorable outcome. Still don’t know how to protect your medical malpractice claim?

At Goldblatt + Singer, our compassionate and experienced St. Louis medical malpractice attorneys will fight for the rights of patients harmed by medical negligence. We understand the profound physical, emotional, and financial toll that malpractice can take on victims and their loved ones. We are committed to providing the skilled legal representation necessary to pursue justice and recovery.

Additional Time Limits to Consider

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While the Missouri medical malpractice statute of limitations is a critical deadline to keep in mind, it is not the only time-sensitive aspect of a malpractice claim. Missouri law imposes several other time limits and requirements that patients must adhere to. To preserve the right to seek compensation, you should watch out for these deadlines

  • Notice of Intent to File Suit — Patients must provide the healthcare provider with a written notice of their intent to file suit at least 90 days before the actual filing. This notice must contain specific details about the nature of the claim and the damages sought.
  • Affidavit of Merit — Within 90 days of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, patients must submit an affidavit of merit. This must be signed by a qualified healthcare provider practicing in the same specialty as the defendant.
  • Statute of Repose — Missouri’s statute of repose imposes an absolute 10-year time limit on filing medical malpractice lawsuits. This is regardless of when the malpractice is discovered.

Given the intricate and interconnected nature of these time limits and requirements, patients should seek a knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney. If they suspect malpractice, an attorney can ensure compliance with all applicable deadlines and requirements. This maximizes the patient’s chances of success in pursuing legal action and compensation.

Contact Goldblatt + Singer

Don’t know what the medical malpractice statute of limitations in Missouri is? At Goldblatt + Singer, we recognize the devastating impact that malpractice can have on your health, well-being, and future. Our law firm stands ready to provide the skilled, compassionate legal representation you need to seek justice and compensation.

If you are a victim of medical malpractice in Missouri, the statute of limitations can affect your pursuit of accountability and recovery. Contact us online or call our accomplished St. Louis medical malpractice attorneys at Goldblatt + Singer today at (314) 231-4100 for a free, confidential consultation.

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