Doctor Negligence and the Statute of Limitations
How will the doctor negligence Statute of Limitations affect my eligibility to claim if the operation that made me ill happened a few years ago?
The doctor negligence Statute of Limitations will affect your claim in that it will limit the amount of time that you have to pursue this claim. It was first established in Ireland in 1957, its most recent amendment occurring in 2004. Its purpose is to ensure that potential claimants may only pursue a claim while evidence is still recent and so that negligent parties need not fear constant potential litigation.
In Ireland, the Statute of Limitations time limit is two years. This date can begin on the date that any medical consequences you suffered as a result of your operation — such as illness, injury or the deterioration of an existing condition – has been determined. In the case of your illness, the date may not begin on the date that it was diagnosed, but on the date that it has been concluded that it was caused by the operation you underwent. Therefore, although your operation occurred a few years ago, the time limit for your doctor negligence claim will not necessarily begin on the day you underwent surgery. If it was only recently concluded that your illness was caused by this surgery, there may still be time to pursue a claim.
There are certain rare exceptions to claiming for doctor negligence and the statute of limitations. For example, if your surgery had left you mentally incapacitated then the time limit would not begin until the date that you were fully mentally able again. Other exceptions to the statute include if a child is pursuing a claim, or if a judge permitted an extension of the time limit — however this would be a very exceptional circumstance. A solicitor who has knowledge of your particular situation will be able to provide you with further information about the Irish statute of limitations time limit and how it may affect your claim.
It is in your best interest to discuss your claim with a medical negligence claims solicitor at the first possible moment. Even if the cause of your illness was only determined recently and even if two years seems like plenty of time to pursue a claim, it is always recommended that you find out the viability of your claim at the soonest opportunity following medical negligence occurring. Unforeseen delays can often arise with pursuing compensation, so it is advisable to initiate a claim as soon as you can. Once you inform your solicitor of the circumstances that your illness was caused and the subsequent impact it has had on your quality of life, they will be able to provide you with specific information about the statute’s time limit and a doctor negligence claim in addition to all your option with pursuing this claim.
The information provided here regarding doctor negligence and the Statute of Limitations is a general overview of how it may affect your claim, it is by no means an alternative to seeking professional legal advice. Therefore it is advisable that you contact your solicitor at the first available moment to discuss your potential claim.