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New York Introduces Medical Malpractice Legislation to Change Statute of Limitations

New York Introduces Medical Malpractice Legislation to Change Statute of Limitations

New York Introduces Medical Malpractice Legislation to Change Statute of LimitationsState lawmakers in New York are looking to amend the statute of limitations on malpractice cases against hospitals and physicians. Presently, patients have up to 15 months to file a lawsuit against a public hospital and two-and-half years to sue a private hospital or a physician after a medical error occurred. The proposed legislation would change the statute of limitations to starting at the time of the discovery of the medical error instead of starting at the time of the occurrence of the medical error – as long as the lawsuit is filed within 10 years of the original incident.

The Medical Society of the State of New York opposes the change, stating it would make Medical Malpractice insurance far more expensive and lead to “disastrous increases in health care costs”. But supporters of the change feel that when it comes to complex conditions such as cancer, it takes several years for a patient to realize they were misdiagnosed or otherwise mistreated by a physician or medical profession. They say that New York has one of the strictest windows in the nation for filing a lawsuit, which prevents many patients from having legal recourse. Many states allow lawsuits for one to three years following the discovery of an alleged injury, although most require them to be filed within five years of the incident, regardless of when the injury was discovered. The Medical Society says that the New York bill goes too far by allowing date-of-discovery cases to be filed as long as 10 years. Moreover, many statutes of limitations in other states on malpractice claims also have caps on damages for pain and suffering – something New York does not have.

Called the Lavern Law, the bill is named after Lavern Wilkinson who died of a curable form of lung cancer in 2013 after being misdiagnosed in 2010.  Lavern was diagnosed with cancer while in a terminal phase. The statute of limitations had passed and she was unable to sue for the medical malpractice and get compensated. She left behind a 15-year-old autistic child who requires 24-hour attention and care.

The bill was first introduced last year, passing the assembly but then blocked by the Senate. No vote on the bill is yet scheduled, however, there is a move to revive the bill and a push for an approval before the end of the legislative session this month.

We will continue to keep you updated on this important potential legislation and the impact it can have on Medical Malpractice insurance. Axis Insurance Services specializes in providing the medical community with Errors & Omissions coverage/Medical Malpractice insurance. As an independent broker, we partner with several top-tier insurance carriers that specialize in Professional Liability insurance for physicians and surgeons, providing us with best-in-class coverage features, enhancements, and pricing. For more information about our products, call us at (877) 787-5258.

 

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Blogged on: June 13, 2016 by Mike Smith
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