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New York Court Discusses the Discovery Rule in Medical Malpractice Claims

Lung cancer is a devastating disease, and a delayed diagnosis can worsen the already poor prognosis many patients with lung cancer face. People who suffer harm because of a doctor’s failure to diagnose a disease may be able to recover damages via medical malpractice lawsuits. Just as a delay in providing an accurate diagnosis can cause a patient harm, delays in pursuing claims against a negligent provider can impair a plaintiff’s right to recover damages. The dangers of failing to file a complaint in a timely manner were discussed in a recent New York ruling in a case in which the defendant argued the plaintiff’s claims were time-barred. If your physician failed to provide you with a prompt diagnosis, you could be owed damages, and it is prudent to meet with a skillful Rochester medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.

The Plaintiff’s Allegations

It is alleged that the defendants failed to diagnose the plaintiff’s lung cancer in May 2014. The plaintiff did not discover the failure until October 2019. She subsequently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit in March 2020, asserting negligence and lack of informed consent claims. The defendants argued that the plaintiff’s claims were barred by the applicable statute of limitations and moved to dismiss them. The plaintiff argued that a recent amendment to the statute of limitations applied, and therefore, her claims were not time-barred. The court ultimately agreed with the plaintiff and denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss.

Time Limitations in Medical Malpractice Claims

In its analysis, the court explained that the prior version of the law setting forth the time limitations for pursuing medical malpractice claims required them to be filed within two years of the alleged malpractice. In 2018, however, the statute was amended to state that a plaintiff has two and a half years from the date he or she reasonably knows or should know that there is an injury that was caused by malpractice, or within two and a half years of the end of continuous treatment, whichever provides more time.

In the subject case, the court noted that the statute that was in effect at the time of the alleged malpractice did not allow for tolling under the discovery rule. The court found, however, that under the amendment, the plaintiff had two and a half years from the date of the discovery of the malpractice, not from the date the malpractice occurred, to file her claim. Thus, the court denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss.

Speak to a Capable Malpractice Attorney in Rochester

In treating cancer and other critical illnesses, it is essential to obtain a timely diagnosis, and doctors that fail to accurately diagnose or treat their patients should be held accountable. If you were harmed by a physician’s failure to diagnose your illness, you could be owed damages, and you should speak to a lawyer promptly. The capable Rochester medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers possess the skills and experience needed to obtain just outcomes, and if you hire us, we will work diligently on your behalf. You can contact us via our form online or at 585-653-7343 to set up a meeting.

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