A doctor error, hospital negligence or other types of medical malpractice can leave a patient with a worsened medical condition or a serious personal injury. Fortunately, Bexar County residents have recourse under state law against a health care provider whose negligence results in injury to a patient. Patients must act quickly to file a claim or risk losing the right to recover due to the Texas statute of limitations in medical malpractice cases.
A statute of limitations restricts the time within which courts may entertain a claim for damages in a particular case. The plaintiff, who usually is the injured party in a civil case, puts the defendant, the party being sued, at a disadvantage by waiting to file a lawsuit with the courts. Memories of the events fade, witnesses move and evidence may be destroyed the longer a person waits to file a claim following an accident or an act of medical professional negligence.
Chapter 74 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code imposes a two-year statute of limitations for filing a health care liability claim. The two years is calculated from the date of the negligence, mistake or other conduct that caused the injury. Section 74.251(a) also states that a patient injured as a result of an ongoing course of treatment may compute the two years from the date the treatment ends.
Patients undergoing medical care that goes on for many years are not entitled to an open-ended statute of limitations. Texas requires that medical malpractice actions be filed within 10 years of the negligent act or, in cases alleging a failure to treat, 10 years from the failure to act regardless of how long the course of treatment lasts.
The consequences of failing to sue a medical professional for malpractice within the time set by the statute of limitations can mean the loss of the right to recover medical expenses and other compensation. State laws pertaining to birth injury, anesthesia error and other forms of medical malpractice are complex. Legal advice should only be obtained from a personal injury attorney with knowledge of the medical professional negligence laws in Texas.