What is the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice case in South Dakota?
Like lawmakers in a lot of states, South Dakota legislators have passed a statute of limitations that specifically covers medical malpractice lawsuits. First though, a quick refresher for readers who need to brush up on their “legalese”: A statute of limitations is a law that puts a limit -- expressed in years -- on the amount of time you have to go to court and file a lawsuit after you have suffered some type of injury or loss. There are different deadlines depending on the kind of lawsuit you want to file.
South Dakota’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits can be found at South Dakota Codified Laws section 15-2-14.1, and it says: “An action against a physician, surgeon, dentist, hospital, sanitarium, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, chiropractor, or other practitioner of the healing arts for malpractice, error, mistake, or failure to cure, whether based upon contract or tort, can be commenced only within two years after the alleged malpractice, error, mistake, or failure to cure shall have occurred.”
As the law says, the “clock” on South Dakota’s two-year deadline starts running on the date on which the defendant’s alleged medical error was actually committed. But what if you did not discover right away that you were injured, or you didn’t know of the link between your injury and the defendant’s wrongdoing? You may be able to argue that the “clock” should not start running in your case until the date on which you discovered that you were harmed by actionable malpractice. If the filing deadline has passed and your case hinges on this “discovery” argument, it’s time to contact an experienced South Dakota medical malpractice lawyer.
If you try to file your South Dakota medical malpractice lawsuit after the statute of limitations deadline has passed, you can bet that the doctor or health care facility you’re trying to sue will ask the court to dismiss the case. If the court grants the request (which it almost certainly will), that is the end of your lawsuit. So it’s crucial to pay attention to the deadline (and make your best argument as to why it should be extended). Learn more about the Statute of Limitations in a Medical Malpractice Case.
by: David Goguen, J.D.