Wyoming Medical Malpractice Laws

A look at the Wyoming medical malpractice lawsuit filing deadline, and what the injured patient must prove in these lawsuits.

By , J.D. · University of San Francisco School of Law

A medical malpractice lawsuit is a complicated endeavor, especially when compared with other injury-related legal claims. That's true in every state, Wyoming included. It's not just because legal issues and medical evidence can get very complex very quickly in these kinds of cases. In this article, we'll look at some key Wyoming medical malpractice laws: the statute of limitations and the what the injured patient will need to prove in a medical malpractice case.

Wyoming's Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations is a state law that sets a limit on the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit. If you try to file your lawsuit after the medical malpractice 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's the end of your lawsuit.

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.

Next, 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.

Finally, 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." But keep in mind that if you are relying on any "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.

Wyoming's Medical Review Panel Laws Repealed, Effective July 1, 2022

For years, Wyoming had a law on the books requiring most potential medical malpractice plaintiffs to first file a claim with the Wyoming Medical Review Panel. This requirement, was meant to discourage the filing of lawsuits "where the facts do not permit at least a reasonable inference of malpractice" and to encourage "fair and equitable disposition" of valid claims.

In 2021, though, the Wyoming legislature repealed these laws, which ended the medical review panel requirement in medical malpractice cases, effective July 1, 2022. That means the medical review panel process is no longer a prerequisite to filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in the state's courts. However, the bill states that the panel will continue to function until it has issued final decisions in all claims submitted to it prior to July 1, 2022.

See 2021 Wyoming House Bill No. 195 for the text of the legislation that repealed Wyoming's medical review panel laws.

Proving Medical Malpractice in Wyoming

Although injured patients no longer have to present their medical malpractice cases to a medical review panel before filing suit, they still must prove their claims in court. Wyoming Statutes section 1-12-601 states that the plaintiff must prove that the defendant (that's the health care provider or facility being sued) failed to act in accordance with:

  • the medical standard of care followed by providers performing similar health care services, or
  • the medical standard of care followed by a national board or association, if the provider is certified by such a board or association.

In order to prove that the health care provider failed to meet the standard of care in your case, the testimony of a medical expert is usually required. Under Wyoming law, an expert who is "qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education" may testify in a medical malpractice case in order to help the jury understand the evidence or determine a fact at issue. (Wyoming Rules of Evidence 702 (2022).)

No Medical Malpractice Damages Cap in Wyoming

Unlike many states, Wyoming has not passed a law that limits (or "caps") damages in medical malpractice cases. So there is no statutory limit on the amount of money that a successful plaintiff can receive, after a jury has found the defendant health care provider(s) liable for medical malpractice.

If you're looking for more specifics on Wyoming's medical malpractice laws and how they apply to your potential case, it may be time to discuss your situation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney in your area.

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