What is the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice lawsuit in Mississippi?
Like a lot of states, Mississippi has a dedicated statute of limitations for a medical malpractice lawsuit. But first, some background for readers who aren’t 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 after you have suffered some type of loss or injury.
Mississippi’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases, which is codified at Mississippi Code section 15-1-36 specifies that the injured patient must file their claim within two years of the date on which the health care provider committed the alleged malpractice, or on which with “reasonable diligence” the malpractice “might have been first known or discovered.”
Keep in mind that if you are relying on this “discovery rule,” as the plaintiff you have the burden of proving that you did not discover right away that the malpractice occurred, and that you could not have reasonably discovered the malpractice until you actually did.
There is a larger catch-all filing deadline for medical malpractice lawsuits in Mississippi, which says that this kind of case cannot be filed “more than seven years after the alleged act, omission or neglect occurred.” This is known as a “statute of repose,” and it means that no lawsuit can be filed if more than seven years have passed since the malpractice occurred, regardless of whether the patient had a reasonable opportunity to discover that he or she was harmed by it. The only exceptions to this larger seven-year deadline are cases where a foreign object was left in a surgical patient, or when the malpractice was concealed through the defendant’s fraud. In those situations, the two-year “clock” starts running once the occurrence of the medical error would have been discovered with reasonable diligence.
Now, what happens if Mississippi’s statute of limitations deadline has passed, and you try to file your lawsuit anyway? It’s a safe bet that the doctor or health care facility you’re trying to sue will ask the court to dismiss the case, and the court will grant the request. If that happens, that will be the end of your lawsuit. Learn more about the Statute of Limitations in a Medical Malpractice Case.
by: David Goguen, J.D.