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

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Question:

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

Answer:

If you are thinking about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Oklahoma, the first thing you need to be aware of is the statute of limitations. This is a state law that puts a strict limit on the amount of time you have to get your case started in the state’s civil court system. In Oklahoma, getting a medical malpractice lawsuit started means filing not just the initial complaint, but also an affidavit in which the plaintiff (the person filing the lawsuit) states under oath that there is good cause for the lawsuit and that a qualified expert medical witness believes that the defendant’s conduct amounted to medical malpractice.

Now, what does the law say? Oklahoma, like many states, has passed a statute of limitations that applies specifically to medical malpractice lawsuits. Oklahoma Statutes section 76-18 says “An action for damages for injury or death against any physician, health care provider or hospital licensed under the laws of this state…shall be brought within two years of the date the plaintiff knew or should have known, through the exercise of reasonable diligence,” of the existence of the case.

Keep in mind that if you did not discover right away that a medical error was committed, as the plaintiff you have the burden of proving that you couldn’t have discovered it even through the “exercise of reasonable diligence.”

Having read all of this, you may be wondering what happens if you try to file your medical malpractice lawsuit after Oklahoma’s statute of limitations deadline has already passed. In that situation, 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 statute of limitations as it applies to your specific situation. Learn more about the Statute of Limitations in a Medical Malpractice Case.

by: David Goguen, J.D.

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