is the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice lawsuit in Wyoming?
Like a lot of states, Wyoming has enacted a specific statute
for medical malpractice
lawsuits. But first, some background for readers whose “legalese”
is a little rusty: A statute of limitations is a state law that sets a limit on
the amount of time you have to go to court and file a lawsuit after you have suffered
some type of harm (such as an injury or a financial loss). Depending on the
kind of case you want to file, the deadline could be anywhere from one year to
Wyoming’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases can
be found at Wyoming Statutes
section 1-3-107, and it gets a little complicated,
so let’s look at it one piece at a time.
The first part of the statute says that a medical malpractice
lawsuit must be filed within two years
of the date on which the underlying medical
error was committed.
the statute goes on to say that, if the malpractice was “not reasonably
discoverable” within those first two years, or if the plaintiff failed to
discover it “despite the exercise of due diligence,” then the case
must be brought within two years of
the date when the malpractice is actually discovered.
Wyoming’s statute of limitations says that if the malpractice is not discovered
until sometime during the second year of the two-year period, “the
period for commencing a lawsuit shall be extended by six months.”
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 have reasonably
discovered -- the malpractice or injury until you actually did.
You may wonder what happens if you try to file your medical
malpractice lawsuit after the 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 Wyoming
statute of limitations and understand the deadline as it applies to your
medical malpractice case.
by: David Goguen,