St. Louis Missouri Medical Malpractice: How Long Do I Have to File Suit Against a Doctor?

In St. Louis Missouri, victims of medical malpractice may pursue a damage claim against the doctor or care provider who was responsible for harming them. However, there is a limited period of time in which to make a claim.  The deadline is set by the “Statute of Limitations,” which is found in Missouri code section 516-105.

The Statute of Limitations for St. Louis Missouri Medical Malpractice

The Missouri Statute of Limitations for medical malpractice applies in: “All actions against physicians, hospitals, dentists, registered or licensed practical nurses, optometrists, podiatrists, pharmacists, chiropractors, professional physical therapists, and any other entity providing health care services and all employees of any of the foregoing acting in the course and scope of their employment, for damages for malpractice, negligence, error or mistake related to health care.”

The statute of limitations for these actions is generally two years. However, there are certain exceptions made. For example:

  • An exception is made in cases where a surgical instrument has been left inside of a patient during a medical procedure.

In these cases, the victim of the malpractice has two years to bring a claim from the time that the instrument is discovered or from the time that the plaintiff reasonably should have discovered it.

  • An exception is made in cases where the medical negligence involved a failure to follow up and alert patients of the results of medical testing.

In these cases, the victim also has two years from the time when the failure was discovered or when it reasonably should have been discovered.

  • An exception is made where the same doctor treated you for the same condition.

In these cases, you have two years from the last day of continuing treatment.

  • An exception is made in cases where the victim of the medical negligence was a minor at the time when the incident occurred.

A person who is underaged when victimized by medical negligence has until his 20th birthday to make a claim for damages.

Why Is There a Time Limit for Malpractice Claims?

A statute of limitations applies to medical malpractice cases for many reasons.  First and foremost, evidence may become lost or destroyed and people’s memories will fade over time. It would be difficult for a doctor to defend himself or a plaintiff to make a case if many years have passed since the incident of alleged negligence. It is also considered unfair to force a person to constantly live in fear of lawsuits from incidents that may have happened many years ago.

Unfortunately, the statute of limitations can sometimes result in plaintiffs with legitimate claims being unable to recover compensation for their losses. It is important for patients who suspect they were the victims of medical malpractice to speak with a St. Louis attorney as soon as possible after the incident to determine if they have a claim for damages.

St. Louis personal injury lawyers Carey, Danis & Lowe represent victims of medical malpractice. Contact our St. Louis, Missouri medical negligence lawyers today at (877) 678-3400 to schedule a free consultation.