How long will misdiagnosed cancer patients have to file a medical malpractice suit in NY?
Years in the making, Lavern’s Law will finally become official. Lawmakers have reached an agreement concerning the controversial bill that will allow patients with a missed cancer diagnosis to file suit after the discovery of their misdiagnosis. The law, which is named after Lavern Wilkinson of the Bronx who passed away from undiagnosed lung cancer, will bring justice to thousands of cancer patients in the state of New York. Our New York, NY medical malpractice lawyers discuss the final version of Lavern’s Law and what it may mean for you below.
The final version of Lavern’s Law holds as follows: the statute of limitations for patients in New York to bring a medical malpractice case involving cancer or malignant tumors will start to run when the medical error is discovered by the patient, rather than when the misdiagnosis occurred. Under current law, the statute of limitations runs from the date of the misdiagnosis. This means that for many cancer patients, by the time they discover their missed diagnosis, the fifteen-month statute of limitations has already run.
Now, patients will have the right to bring a medical malpractice claim within two and a half years from the time they discover the misdiagnosis. The clock will start from the date at which the plaintiff knew or should have known of the physician’s negligence. However, there is a seven-year outer limit, meaning that no medical malpractice action can be brought more than seven years from the date of the occurrence or missed cancer diagnosis.
Lavern’s Law in its final stage is expected to pass both houses shortly. Supporters of the bill celebrate its passage but lament that the bill is only able to pass in this weakened version. The original bill would have protected all medical malpractice victims, while the final bill helps only cancer cases. Nonetheless, Lavern’s Law is expected to bring justice for thousands of patients who do not receive the cancer treatment they need to survive as a result of a misdiagnosis. Anyone with cancer who has been misdiagnosed should consult with a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.