If you have suffered injuries that you believe were caused by your doctor’s negligence, you might be thinking about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. These types of legal claims are very complex and require plaintiffs to analyze reams of medical records and expert opinions to prove their cases. You must also understand the laws that apply, including the statute of limitations on medical malpractice. Scroll down to explore an overview of the Arkansas and Oklahoma statutes of limitations so you know what your deadline for filing a claim might be.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice?
The statute of limitations on medical malpractice is a statutory deadline for filing a claim. If you miss this deadline, you will not be able to pursue recovery of compensation in court. The limitation period can vary from state to state, as each state writes its own laws.
The Arkansas Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims
The Arkansas statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is found at Ark. Code § 16-114-203. Under this statute, people have two years to file a medical malpractice claim from the date their causes of action accrued. The start date of the two-year limitation period begins on the date when the negligent action occurred.
The language of the statute provides little leeway for medical malpractice victims to discover their harm. However, there is an exception to the strict deadline listed in the law. If you later discover that your doctor left a foreign object in your body during a surgical procedure and did not know that had occurred and could not have reasonably discovered it within two years of the date of your medical procedure, you can file a lawsuit one year from the date when you reasonably should have discovered or actually discovered that the doctor left the object in your body, whichever occurs earlier.
If you try to file a medical malpractice lawsuit after the deadline has passed, the defendant will likely ask for your case to be dismissed. The court will likely grant the defendant’s motion and dismiss the action. This makes it important for you to know the statute of limitations and to comply with it.
The Oklahoma Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims
In Oklahoma, it is likewise important for you to know the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims if you think that you might have a case. A lawsuit begins when you file a petition in court.
The medical malpractice statute of limitations is found at 76 OK Stat. § 76-18. This law also establishes a two-year limitation period for medical malpractice actions. However, unlike in Arkansas, the statute states that the limitation period does not begin to run until the date you knew or reasonably should have known that the negligent act occurred.
If you did not discover your doctor’s medical mistake immediately and file your claim more than two years after it occurred, you will have the burden of proof to show that you could not have reasonably discovered it earlier. For example, if you discover that your doctor committed a medical error that caused harm to you three years after when the incident happened, you will need to present evidence showing why you could not have discovered the mistake any earlier than you did to overcome the defendant’s motion to dismiss your petition.
Finally, note that the Oklahoma Government Tort Claims Act sets forth the procedure for filing suit against Oklahoma state entities, including some of the government-owned hospitals.
Get Help from Our Medical Malpractice Attorneys
If you believe that your doctor or other medical professional made a medical error that caused you harm, you should consult with a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. While two years might seem like a long time, determining whether to file a claim will require substantial investigation and the help of a medical expert to review your medical records, doctor’s notes, and other evidence. Missing the statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims means that your claim could be time-barred, preventing you from recovering compensation for your losses. Contact the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook today to request a free consultation by calling 479-783-8000 (Fort Smith), 918-912-2132 (Tulsa), or 479-455-2210 (Fayetteville) or sending us a message online.