The Statute of Repose (& Why It Makes Life Unfair for Malpractice Victims)

Medical malpractice can have a devastating impact on people's lives beyond medical costs. Medical negligence can cause physical and emotional pain for individuals which can last for years, in some cases permanently. For example, poor care that leads to birth defects or long-term disabilities can drastically reduce an individual's quality of life. Other times malpractice goes further and makes it impossible for individuals to continue with activities they enjoyed before the incident or take part in activities at all, due to decreased capabilities. Ultimately, medical malpractice destroys lives in a myriad of ways, from simple medical bills to severe consequences that affect future life outcomes.

Medical malpractice is both dangerous and preventable, and should be exposed wherever it is found. Victims of medical negligence deserve to be compensated and have the healthcare they need to recover from the damage caused by medical malpractice. Holding medical workers accountable would aid in medical safety across the medical community as well as providing financial security for those affected. The statute of repose actively prevents this, meaning medical malpractice can remain unaddressed and potentially result in more harm to future patients. Clearly, medical malpractice should not remain unrestricted and unaccounted for; medical workers must take their responsibility seriously in order to protect patients.

Today's article explains what the statute of repose is and why lawmakers should rethink it.

What Is Louisiana’s Statute of Repose?

You might be familiar with the statute of limitations. Statutes of limitation create a deadline for civil claims, past which they can no longer be filed. In the State of Louisiana, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is one year from the date of discovery of an injury, which is the date of the incident in most cases. However, there are many situations where a person may not realize they've been harmed until long after the incident, most notably in wrongful diagnosis cases. A wrong diagnosis may not be discovered for months or even years after it occurs.

Regardless, once you've learned you're injured, the countdown begins.

One year is already a fairly strict statute of limitations; in most states, the statute of limitations is two years or longer. In fact, Louisiana is just one of two states that has a civil statute of limitations of fewer than 2 years. However, in addition to the strict one-year window, Louisiana applies a statute of repose to medical malpractice cases, which makes it even harder for patients to seek justice.

The statute of repose means if a patient discovers they've been wronged by a medical professional or facility more than three years after the fact, they're barred from filing a suit against their wrongdoer. It doesn't matter how terrible the mistake, how painful the harm, or even if the patient dies as a result: three years after committing harm, negligent medical providers are off the hook.

The statute of repose is frustrating and unfair for victims of medical malpractice who do not discover their situation for many years. In some cases, an individual may have received a poorly installed medical device that took longer than the statute of repose to fail. In other cases, a patient can take years to have issues from their medical malpractice diagnosed, making them unable to file a claim on time.

Call Our Louisiana Personal Injury Lawyers Today

If Louisiana’s statute of repose sounds unjust, it’s because it is. Unfortunately, the statute of repose provides a layer of protection for medical providers who should not be allowed to get away with neglectful behavior. As a result of the statute of repose, negligent or harmful medical providers have been allowed to continue practicing, opening up other patients to the harmful mistakes they make.

If you even suspect that you are a victim of medical malpractice or negligence of any kind, it is essential that you call the Louisiana injury lawyers at Clayton, Frugé & Ward as soon as possible. Our team can evaluate your case from every possible angle and begin building a strategy to rebuild your future. We have won over $1 billion in verdicts and settlements, helping countless people get back on their feet. Let's help you too.

Don’t let the window of opportunity close on you. Contact our legal team today at (225) 209-9943. Our Louisiana personal injury attorneys are ready to fight for your recovery today!