is the Arkansas statute of limitations for a medical malpractice lawsuit?
First, as a quick refresher for those whose “legalese” might
be a little rusty, a statute of limitations is a law that sets a strict limit
on the amount of time you have to go to court and get a civil case started. In
Arkansas, if you’re bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit, that means filing
the initial complaint, and within 30 days, also filing an affidavit
of merit from an expert medical witness who states that there is a sound
legal basis for your claim based on their review of the facts.
The standard statute of limitations for a medical malpractice
lawsuit in Arkansas can be found at Arkansas Code section 16-114-203, and it gives a prospective medical
malpractice patient two years to
file the lawsuit. But when does the “clock” start running? The Arkansas statute specifically says that the “date of the accrual of the cause of
action” -- meaning the start of the two-year period -- “shall be the date of
the wrongful act complained of and no other time. “
So, you have very little leeway in Arkansas to “discover” that you
were harmed by malpractice beyond the date on which the underlying medical
error was committed. But there is a key exception to this strict
In Arkansas, “where the
action is based upon the discovery of a foreign object in the body” -- such as
a medical instrument or sponge -- and that object “is not discovered and could
not reasonably have been discovered” within the two-year period, the lawsuit
may be filed within one year from
the date when the object is or should reasonably should have been discovered,
whichever is earlier.
So, what if you try to file the lawsuit after the statute of
limitations deadline has passed? You can bet that the doctor or health care facility
you’re trying to sue will ask the court to dismiss the case. The court will
almost certainly grant the request, and that will be the end of your lawsuit.
So it’s crucial to pay attention to the Arkansas statute of limitations as it
applies to your medical
by: David Goguen,