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Complicated matter: wrongful death or medical malpractice?

Have you ever considered how long a person has to file a medical malpractice lawsuit? And for that matter, when does the clock start ticking? Is it when the medical error occurs? Or is it when the patient realizes that an error may have occurred? What happens if the error becomes a fatal error, and the patient passes away?

These are complex questions, and the answers are just as complicated. As such, it is absolutely vital that anyone who has been a victim of medical negligence, medical malpractice or anything that constitutes substandard medical care should consult with an attorney to make sure they have the right answers that properly apply to their unique case.

When it comes to statute of limitations and time considerations for medical malpractice, each case truly is unique. Some courts may say that the "timer" on a medical malpractice case began when the error first occurred. Some may say that the case starts not when the negligence occurred, but when the injury or harm caused by that negligence is realized. Other courts may say that the timer begins once treatment has concluded, or that it runs when the patient should have realized the issue.

But here's where wrongful death can play in: if the patient dies as a result of medical malpractice, the case would likely follow wrongful death rules. However, again the courts have a big say in things. They could decide that the case still proceeds under medical malpractice law as opposed to wrongful death law.

Source: FindLaw, "Time Limit Considerations in Medical Malpractice Claims," Accessed July 23, 2015

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