New York State may soon offer new hope for medical patients with older malpractice claims who get locked out of the courthouse by the state’s short and unreasonable statute of limitations. Currently, N.Y. is just one of six states still clinging to an old law that is grossly unfair to malpractice victims. These states include Arkansas, S. Dakota and Idaho.
The law right now says the clock starts ticking on malpractice claims from the moment a medical error is made. People have 2.5 years to bring legal action from that moment. But for people who don’t discover the malpractice until after the 2.5 years, there is no legal remedy. The proposed new law, which would start the 2.5-year clock at the time of discovery, would be much better for residents and is LONG overdue.
Let me use an example to illustrate the importance of the new law. Assume a woman had a mammogram three years ago that was incorrectly read and she is not told that the mammogram revealed breast cancer.
A repeat mammogram done today shows the breast cancer, which is now much bigger and the cancer has spread to other organs. In reviewing the current mammogram, the doctor looks back at the mammogram that was done three years ago and realizes that a huge mistake was made and she should have been told she had a mass that could have been easily treated three years ago.
Under our current law, she would not be able to pursue legal action because the 2.5-year time limit for medical malpractice claims has already expired.
So there is new hope in Albany right now, but I need your help.
I urge Twin Tiers residents to support the state legislation, which passed the state Assembly and is now in the state Senate. New York is just one of six states that has the old law.
State Sen. Tom Libous, R-Binghamton, is the sponsor of this important bill and he is joined by 33 co-sponsors. Our local state Sen. Tom O’Mara, R-Big Flats, has not become a co-sponsor.
I urge all Southern Tier residents to contact Sen. O’Mara’s office and ask him to support the new law. Gov. Cuomo has said he will sign it once it passes in the Senate.
Contact Sen. O’Mara’s office here.
Thanks for reading and helping to make a difference,
Today’s topic was discussed on the June 17 edition of Law Talk on WETM News at Noon. Catch us every Wednesday, talking about legal issues in the news, at about 12:20 p.m.