Institute:Office of National Coordinator (ONC) Workforce Training Curriculum
Component:Introduction to Health Care and Public Health in the U.S.
Unit:Regulating Health Care
Lecture:Legal Aspects of Medicine
Slide content:Statute of Limitations Time limit for filing a lawsuit Short as 6 months Long as 4 years Discovery rule Time limit starts when the malpractice is discovered, rather than when it was allegedly committed 15
Slide notes:The statute of limitations is the time limit a patient has for filing a lawsuit. These time limits vary greatly from state to state, ranging from six months to four years. In many instances, however, the time limit does not start to run when the negligent act is committed. Rather, it begins when the negligent act is discovered. This is known as the discovery rule. For example, suppose a surgeon leaves a sponge inside a patient. In states that apply the discovery rule, the patients time limit for filing a lawsuit would begin when the sponge is discovered, not on the date of the original surgery. As with most of the legal concepts discussed in these lectures, there are many exceptions to these general rules. 15