What is the statute of limitations for a medical
malpractice lawsuit in Wisconsin?
First, as some background for readers who don’t
speak “legalese,” a statute of limitations is a law that sets a limit on
the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit in state court after you have
suffered some type of loss or injury.
Wisconsin’s statute of limitations for a medical
malpractice lawsuit can be found at Wisconsin
Statutes section 893.55. This rule specifies that the
case must be filed “three years from
the date of the injury," or "one
year from the date the injury was discovered or, in the exercise of
reasonable diligence should have been discovered," whichever is later.
Keep in mind that if you are
arguing that you did not discover right away that you were harmed by the
defendant’s medical error , as the
plaintiff you have the burden of proving that you did not know -- and could not
reasonably have been expected to know -- about the wrongdoing until you actually did.
There is a larger catch-all filing deadline for
medical malpractice lawsuits in Wisconsin, which says that these kinds of cases
can’t be filed if more than five years have passed since the alleged
malpractice occurred. However, the fairness of this part of the statute has
been called into question by Wisconsin courts, so talk to an attorney if you
have questions about how the deadline applies to your case.
There are special rules for cases where a foreign
object was accidentally left in a patient (after surgery, for example), and
where a health care provider concealed the occurrence of the malpractice. In
those situations, the filing deadline is one year from the date the injury is
discovered or, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, should have
What if Wisconsin’s statute of limitations deadline
has passed, and you try to file your lawsuit anyway? The health care provider
you’re trying to sue will almost certainly ask the court to dismiss the case as
time-barred, and the court will grant the request. So it’s important that you
pay attention to the filing deadline. Learn more about the Statute
of Limitations in a Medical Malpractice Case.