Delayed cancer diagnoses are among the most devastating types of medical malpractice cases in Albany. For many patients, a delayed cancer diagnosis can mean that more invasive treatment is necessary, and in some cases, the cancer has advanced and treatment is no longer possible or is no longer likely to be effective. In most delayed cancer diagnosis cases, the reason for the delayed cancer diagnosis is health care provider negligence.
There are various ways in which a doctor or another provider can make a mistake that can result in a delayed cancer diagnosis. For example, a patient might schedule an appointment with a primary care provider to discuss specific symptoms, and the primary care provider might fail to recognize the symptoms as possible signs of cancer. As such, the primary care provider may fail to recommend that the patient see a specialist or have follow-up tests conducted. Or, for instance, a patient might have a routine cancer screening, and the laboratory conducting the screening work might make a mistake.
There are also many other circumstances in which a delayed cancer diagnosis can happen, and one or more health care providers may be liable for harm. When a delayed cancer diagnosis does result in injury, how much time do you have to file a claim? The statute of limitations in medical malpractice cases can be complicated, but our Albany medical negligence lawyers can assist you.
What is the Statute of Limitations?
In any type of civil lawsuit, including medical malpractice lawsuits, plaintiffs have only a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit in order to seek compensation for their losses. This time limit is created by the statute of limitations. It is important to know that the statute of limitations is not the same for all types of civil lawsuits, and it is not even the same for all types of personal injury lawsuits.
Generally speaking, New York law has a statute of limitations of 2.5 years (or 2 years and 6 months) for most medical malpractice claims. What this means is that a patient must file a lawsuit within 2.5 years from the date of the health care provider’s negligent act or omission that resulted in the patient’s injury. However, as you might imagine, many patients do not realize that they have a delayed diagnosis claim until months or years later. Indeed, in various types of delayed diagnosis cases, a patient might assume that their symptoms are not serious because of a misdiagnosis from a primary care provider, or a laboratory test that came back negative for cancer. After a misdiagnosis, a patient might wait months or longer before seeing another doctor about worsening symptoms, or the patient might fail to have another cancer screening done for quite some time.
Given that delayed diagnosis injuries do not usually become known immediately, these specific types of cases are an exception to the general medical malpractice statute of limitations.
How the Statute of Limitations is Different for Delayed Diagnosis Claims
How is the statute of limitations different for delayed diagnosis cases? In short, a patient may have additional time beyond 2 years and 6 months to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. The statute specifies that an exception to the medical malpractice statute of limitations is as follows:
“[W]here the action is based upon the alleged negligent failure to diagnose cancer or a malignant tumor, whether by act or omission, the action may be commenced within two years and six months of the later of either . . . when the person knows or reasonably should have known of such alleged negligent action or omission… or the date of the last treatment where there is the continuous treatment for such injury, illness or condition.”
To be clear, the clock on a delayed diagnosis case will either start ticking on the date that the patient learned about the delayed diagnosis or the date that the patient last received continuous treatment. When a patient seeks to file a delayed diagnosis lawsuit and is relying on an extended clock based on the date that the patient learned of the delayed diagnosis (or reasonably should have learned of the delayed diagnosis), the lawsuit still must be filed within 7 years from the date of the health care provider’s negligence that resulted in the delayed diagnosis.
Contact a Delayed Cancer Diagnosis Attorney in Albany
Understanding how the statute of limitations works in any medical malpractice case in New York can be complicated, and the clock can be particularly complex in delayed cancer diagnosis cases. You should know that one of our experienced Albany delayed cancer diagnosis lawyers can evaluate your case for you today and can provide you with more information about the timeline for your case. Once you are ready to file a lawsuit, we will advocate for your right to compensation from start to finish. Do not hesitate to get in touch with us to find out more about how our firm can help you. Contact Powers & Santola, LLP in Albany today.