Statute of Limitations for Hospital Medical Negligence
What is the Statute of Limitations for hospital medical negligence and how will it affect my claim for having the wrong surgery performed on me?
The Statute of Limitations for hospital medical negligence is an Irish law that imposes a limit on the amount of time that a claimant has in which to pursue a claim. It was first introduced in 1957 and the most recent amendment that occurred in 2004 — pertaining to personal injury claims and by association the time limit for medical negligence in hospitals – allows potential claimants two years to initiate a claim.
The date that this time limit typically begins would be the date that an injury, illness or the deterioration of an existing condition has been identified. With something like the amputation of the wrong limb, this date would most likely be the day in which it was amputated. However, with regards to something like a contracted infection that took a significant period of time to manifest, the negligence in hospital statute of limitations would not begin until the cause of the infection has been determined. Therefore, in relation to having the wrong surgery performed on you, the time limit would begin on the date in which the medical consequences you suffered have been identified as being caused by this surgery.
There a number of exceptions to the Statute of Limitations for hospital medical negligence, however they are quite rare. One example would be if a child were seeking compensation for medical negligence. Because a child under the age of eighteen is unable to make a claim on their own behalf or advise a solicitor, the negligence in hospital statute of limitations time limit does not begin until they turn eighteen. This means that a child will have until they are twenty to make a claim. If it is preferable to claim in the meantime, a claim can be made on behalf of a child by a parent or legal guardian representing them as their “next friend”.
Another exception to the time limit for medical negligence in a hospital would be if the medical negligence victim has been left mentally incapacitated. In this instance, the time limit would begin when the person has regained their full mental capacity. In exceptional circumstances a judge may extend the statute of limitations if they consider it necessary for a certain case; however this is also very rare.
Although two years may seem like a sufficient amount of time in which to pursue a claim, it is always advisable to seek professional legal advice at the first possible opportunity after experiencing medical negligence. It is always wise to be aware of the viability of your potential claim as unforeseen delay can often arise with regards to gathering sufficient evidence to support your claim and even with establishing negligence. Therefore it is advisable that you discuss the Statute of Limitations for hospital medical negligence claims with a medical negligence claims solicitor. They will be able to provide more specific information about how the statute may apply to you and also advise you on how best to proceed with your claim.