What is the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice lawsuit in Alaska?

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Question:

What is the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice lawsuit in Alaska?

Answer:

Alaska, like a number of other states, has a broad statute of limitations that applies to medical malpractice cases in addition to standard personal injury cases. But first things first, in case your legalese is rusty: A “statute of limitations” limits a prospective plaintiff’s right to file a lawsuit after he or she has suffered some kind of harm. Basically, these laws set a deadline on when the case must get started -- when the initial complaint must be filed in civil court, in other words.  

So, what does the law say in Alaska? The standard statute of limitations as it applies to a medical malpractice lawsuit gives you two years to get your lawsuit filed, starting from the date the harm was inflicted. That typically means two years from when the alleged medical error occurred, but in some cases it can mean two years from the date on which you discover -- or could reasonably have been expected to discover -- that you were harmed by medical malpractice.

Of course, if you are relying on this so called “discovery” exception to the statute of limitations in Alaska,  as the plaintiff you have the burden of proving that you did not discover -- and could not have reasonably discovered -- the existence of the claim within the two-year time limit.

You can read the full text of Alaska’s statute of limitations for injury lawsuits at Alaska Statutes section 09.10.070.

If you try to file the case after the deadline has passed, the court will almost certainly throw it out. In a malpractice case, usually what happens is the doctor or health care entity you are trying to sue points out that the statutory deadline has passed, they file a motion to dismiss the case, the court grants it, and that’s the end of the story. So, it’s crucial to pay attention to the statute of limitations as it applies to your medical malpractice case. Learn more about Medical Malpractice Cases In-Depth.  

by: David Goguen, J.D.

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