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Why is time of the essence in filing a medical malpractice claim?

You have been injured by the negligence of another-either in a car accident or due to medical negligence by a medical professional. You're busy running to the hospital, dealing with the aftermath of the incident, recuperating. Even though you intend to file a case, you keep delaying for a number of reasons and then when you finally get around to it, you find out the case is time-barred. You have a right to file the case-after all you were injured at the hands of another. So, what does time-barred mean? It means the right to sue has potentially been lost forever because the case was not brought within a specific time.

Known as the statute of limitations, every state enacts a time period after the initial incident during which the victim can sue the person who they claim has caused them injury. Though the clock starts running at different times and depends on the type of case or procedure, the end result is the same-if not filed on time, the right may be lost forever. In Indiana, the matter is governed by the Indiana Code Title 34.

According to the law, if the injury was to a person or to personal property, the victim has two years after the date of the incident to bring a personal injury lawsuit. Medical malpractice cases are the same, two years after the incident. However, especially in medical malpractice cases, a person doesn't always know they have been the victim of negligence until much later, which is why the clock starts running from the date when a person knew or should have reasonably known that they have suffered harm.

Not only is time of the essence because a valid right could be extinguished, it also delays the accumulation of evidence to support one's case. For example, witness statements and crash reconstructions are perhaps most effective when conducted immediately. To assert one's rights and get the compensation one deserves, it may be beneficial to consult an experienced attorney.

Source: FindLaw, "Indiana Code Title 34. Civil Law and Procedure § 34-11-2-4," accessed September 12, 2017

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