The California Code of Civil Procedure section 340.5 provides an overview of the state’s statute of limitations related to medical malpractice claims. Under the law, malpractice claims must be brought within a year of the plaintiff’s discovery of the injury, the date at which the plaintiff should have reasonably been able to discover the injury or within three years of the initial date of the injury — whichever comes first.
Therefore, as soon as you learn you were injured due to the negligence of a healthcare provider, you must act as quickly as possible to ensure your lawsuit is filed within a year of your discovery. If you somehow do not realize you were harmed until three years or more have passed since the alleged negligent act, you no longer have the right to file a malpractice claim in California.
Exceptions to the statute of limitations
There are some exceptions to the three-year deadline. For example, if a foreign object was left inside your body (common examples include surgical tools or sponges), there is no overall time limit — although the one-year discovery deadline will still apply. Even if you do not discover the item inside your body until a decade after you had the surgery, you can still file a lawsuit so long as you make the claim within a year of your discovery of the foreign object.
Another factor in medical malpractice claims is California Code of Civil Procedure section 364, which entitles the healthcare provider of the defendant to a minimum of 90 days’ notice of a patient’s intent to file a lawsuit. This is another reason to begin your case as soon as possible, as you need to make sure you can satisfy this requirement.
To learn about seeking damages after being injured in a healthcare setting, consult a knowledgeable San Diego medical malpractice attorney with Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire.