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is the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in New
First, some background for readers who may not be fluent in
the language of “legalese”: A statute of limitations is a state law that sets a
limit on the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit. Depending on the type
of case you want to file, the deadline could be anywhere from one year to 10
Like a lot of states, New Hampshire has a specific statute
that applies to medical malpractice
lawsuits. But that law, which is codified at New
Hampshire Revised Statutes section 507:C-4, has been ruled unconstitutional by
the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
So, New Hampshire’s statute of limitations for personal injury
cases now applies to medical malpractice lawsuits. That law, which you can find
Hampshire Revised Statutes section 508:4, says that any personal injury action
must be brought “within three years of the act or omission complained of” – in a
malpractice case, that means the commission of the medical
error -- “except that when the injury and
its causal relationship to the act or omission were not discovered and could
not reasonably have been discovered” right away, the three-year time period does not start
until the plaintiff discovers, “or in the exercise of reasonable diligence
should have discovered” the occurrence of the defendant’s malpractice.
Keep in mind that if you are relying
on the “discovery” portion of the statute, as the plaintiff you have the burden
of proving that you did not discover -- and you could not reasonably have been expected
to discover -- the occurrence of the underlying malpractice
until you actually did.
So, what happens if you try to file your medical malpractice
lawsuit after New Hampshire’s statute of limitations deadline has already
passed? It’s a safe bet that the doctor or health care facility you’re trying
to sue will file a legal motion asking the court to dismiss the case, the court
will grant the request, and that will be the end of your lawsuit. So, it’s easy
to see why it’s important to pay attention to the New Hampshire statute of
limitations and understand the deadline as it applies to your situation. Learn
more about the Statute of Limitations in a Medical Malpractice Case.
by: David Goguen,
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