Understanding the Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice Cases for Minors

By Greg Kohn

Medical malpractice causes thousands of injuries and deaths in the United States each year. Patients who are the victims of medical errors and medical negligence sustain serious injuries and life-threatening conditions because of the mistakes and wrongdoing of health care providers. New Jersey medical malpractice laws allow patients to seek compensation by filing claims against health care providers who cause injuries. However, it is best to call a New Jersey medical malpractice attorney as quickly as possible if you suspect malpractice because the time to file a claim is limited by law.

Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims in New Jersey

In most cases, victims of medical malpractice have two years from the date of the injury or harm to file a claim against the health care provider alleging malpractice. However, a patient may not immediately realize that the injury or harm the patient suffered was caused by malpractice. Therefore, the two-year statute of limitations in most medical malpractice cases begins from the date that the patient should have reasonably been aware that he or she was harmed because of a medical error or medical negligence. 

However, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims involving minors is somewhat different. Parents need to be aware of the deadlines for bringing medical malpractice cases involving minors.

Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Cases with Minors

There is a special rule for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit for birth-related medical malpractice. Malpractice claims involving birth-related errors and negligence must be filed before the child’s thirteenth birthday. 

However, if the malpractice involves injuries other than birth-related injuries, a child has until two years after his or her eighteenth birthday to file a medical malpractice claim. The reasoning for allowing a minor two years from his or her eighteenth birthday to file a medical malpractice claim is to give a minor time to file a lawsuit after becoming an adult if the minor’s parents failed to pursue a claim while the child was a minor.

If a child dies because of medical malpractice, the parents have two years from the date of the child’s death to file a claim for damages.

What Should I Do If I Suspect Medical Malpractice or Medical Negligence?

If you believe you have uncovered a case of medical error or medical negligence, you need guidance and support from an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. Medical malpractice cases are complex. An experienced attorney has the knowledge, resources, and experience to handle complicated claims against health care providers. 

The above explanation of the statute of limitations in medical malpractice claims is just a broad overview of only one issue in a medical malpractice claim. Many complex issues must be addressed, and time to file a claim is short. Failing to consult an attorney as soon as you suspect medical malpractice has occurred could result in your claim being denied for failing to file a timely claim.

Contact a New Jersey Medical Malpractice Attorney for More Information

Schedule a consultation with our New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers today to learn about your legal rights and how an attorney can help you with your injury claim. Our New Jersey medical malpractice attorney is available to discuss your case. We examine the facts of your case to determine when and if malpractice occurred and devise the best strategy for holding a negligent doctor or health care provider responsible for errors, mistakes, and other wrongdoing that caused you or your family member to suffer further injury and harm.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.