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Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Action Against Health Care Provider

When contemplating personal injury litigation, one of the crucial factors a lawyer must consider is the applicable statute of limitations or the period within which to file a case.

When Right to File Personal Injury Case Expires

The timeliness of a personal injury action is important in order to preserve the injured party’s rights against a negligent party. A party may have a valid claim against other persons but if the lawsuit is filed beyond the statute of limitations, the claim may not survive in court.

As a rule, a personal injury action in the State of California must be filed within two years of the accident, injury, or the act or omission complained of. The 2-year statute of limitations rule, however, is not absolute.

Under Section 340.5 of the California Code of Procedure, a personal injury action arising from the professional negligence of a health care provider must be filed within 1 year of the plaintiff’s discovery of the injury or of the time when the plaintiff should have discovered the injury using reasonable diligence.

When evaluating a potential case for negligence against a health care or medical care provider the challenge lies in identifying what type of negligence is involved — ordinary negligence or professional negligence?

Hospital Negligence

The California Supreme Court recently addressed the question of timeliness of a personal injury case brought by a patient against a hospital. The plaintiff attempted to get up from her hospital bed when the latch securing the bed rail failed, causing the rail to collapse. The plaintiff fell to the floor and was injured.

In her complaint, the plaintiff alleged that the bed rails were raised upon the instructions of her doctor, following her medical treatment. She sued the hospital more than a year after the incident, but not before two years.

The trial court dismissed the case for being filed beyond the statute of limitations, and the Supreme Court confirmed this decision applying the provisions of Section 340.5 of the California Code of Procedure.

The high court ruled that the injury was the result of the hospital’s negligence in rendering professional services to the plaintiff, one of which was to implement doctor’s orders. The personal injury action is therefore based on the hospital’s professional negligence rather than ordinary negligence, and must be filed within one year.

If you are injured due to another person’s negligence, it’s important to speak only to an experienced personal injury attorney who can accurately identify the type of negligence involved and file the appropriate case within the period provided by law.

In Los Angeles, California, the Bedford Law Group, APLC has more than 10 years of personal injury experience. We work very hard to obtain the maximum value of compensation that our clients legally deserve.

You may call us at (310) 507-7900 to speak to one of our friendly attorneys about your situation.

Prior results, testimonials and/or endorsements do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter. Every case is different.

© Bedford Law Group, APLC 2016 - 2019.