Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations (by state)

Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations (by state) – Overview

A statute of limitations is a law that prescribes a certain time frame in which someone can file a claim before they are barred from registering a complaint. These laws apply to civil and criminal actions, but their time limits vary according to the type of claim filed and the jurisdiction.

The statute of limitations restricts the duration in which a plaintiff or prosecutor can file a lawsuit or bring charges against a defendant.

In short, statutes of limitations are legally enforceable deadlines for filing a lawsuit. If the plaintiff or prosecutor fails to file the lawsuit within the stipulated time period, the defendant can seek respite from the fact that the statute of limitations has run its course and get the case dismissed.

Medical Malpractice Statutes of Limitations

Statutes of limitations do not apply to certain criminal cases, such as first-degree murder, allowing for charges to be filed regardless of the time elapsed since the crime. It means that a prosecutor can file charges against a murder suspect after any duration of time.

In contrast, medical malpractice cases have specific statutes of limitations, but they vary from state to state. Due to this, a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case will have a specific time limit to file a lawsuit against the defendant.

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional fails to meet the required standard of care in treatment, diagnosis, or management, harming the patient.

The statute of limitations for medical malpractice can seem complicated for a layperson. This is because it takes several months or years for a patient to realize that there was a lack of standard when being treated by a healthcare provider. This is also the case with medical negligence, as most medical malpractice cases are the base for medical malpractice lawsuits.

As some medical malpractice cases are not immediately obvious to the patient, the plaintiff may be allowed to file a lawsuit even if the statute of limitation for the particular type of case has expired.

Medical Malpractice Statutes of Limitations – by State

Generally, medical malpractice laws vary from state to state. This includes the statutes of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits.

For instance, some states, like California, usually make exceptions to filing deadlines in medical malpractice cases, especially if the case contains elements of fraudulent activity on the defendant’s end. Many states also allow exceptions to their statutes of limitations for cases involving foreign objects left in a patient’s body, extending the time patients have to file a lawsuit upon discovery.

Besides this, most states provide different filing deadlines if the plaintiff in a medical malpractice case is a child (less than 18 years old). These laws allow a child to reach a certain age before they can successfully file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Let’s take a quick look at the specific statutes of limitations for medical malpractice in different states:

Medical Malpractice Statutes of Limitations

Medical Malpractice Statutes of Limitations – 1

Medical Malpractice Statutes of Limitations

Medical Malpractice Statutes of Limitations – 2

Medical Malpractice Statutes of Limitations

Medical Malpractice Statutes of Limitations – 3

Medical Malpractice Statutes of Limitations

Medical Malpractice Statutes of Limitations – 4

Medical Malpractice Statutes of Limitations

Medical Malpractice Statutes of Limitations – 5

Alabama2 yearsCode of Alabama, section 6-5-482
Alaska2 yearsAlaska Statutes, section 09.10.070
Arizona2 yearsArizona Revised Statutes, section 12-542
Arkansas2 yearsArkansas Code, section 16-114-203
California1 year / 3 yearsCalifornia Code of Civil Procedure, section 340.5
Colorado2 yearsColorado Revised Statutes, section 13-80-102.5
Connecticut2 yearsGen. Stat. of Connecticut, section 52-584
Delaware2 yearsTitle 18 Delaware Code, section 6856
D.C.3 yearsD.C. Code Section 12-301
Florida2 yearsFlorida Statutes, section 95.11(4)(b)
Georgia2 yearsCode of Georgia, section 9-3-71
Hawaii2 yearsHawaii Revised Statutes, section 657-7.3
Idaho2 yearsIdaho Statutes, section 5-219
Illinois2 yearsIllinois Comp. Statutes, section 5/13-212(a)
Indiana2 yearsIndiana Code, section 34-18-7-1
Iowa2 yearsIowa Code, section 614.1
Kansas2 yearsKansas Statutes, section 60-513
Kentucky1 yearKentucky Revised Statutes, section 413.140
Louisiana1 yearLouisiana Revised Statutes, section 9:5628
Maine3 yearsMaine Revised Statutes Title 24, section 2902
Maryland3 years / 5 yearsMaryland Cts & Jud. Proc. Code, section 5-109
Massachusetts3 yearsMassachusetts General Laws Ch. 260, section 4
Michigan2 yearsMichigan Comp. Laws, section 600.5805
Minnesota4 yearsMinnesota Statutes, section 541.076
Mississippi2 yearsMississippi Code, section 15-1-36(1)
Missouri2 yearsMissouri Revised Statutes, section 516.105
Montana3 yearsMontana Code, section 27-2-205
Nebraska2 yearsNebraska Revised Statutes, section 44-2828
Nevada3 yearsNevada Revised Statues, section 41A.097
New Hampshire2 yearsNew Hampshire Revised Statutes, section 507:C-4
New Jersey2 yearsNew Jersey Statutes, section 2A:14-2
New Mexico3 yearsNew Mexico Statutes, section 41-5-13
New York2 1/2 yearsN.Y. Civil Practice Law and Rules, section 214-a
North Carolina3 yearsNorth Carolina General Statutes, section 1-15
North Dakota2 yearsNorth Dakota Century Code, section 28-01-18
Ohio1 yearOhio Revised Code, section 2305.113
Oklahoma2 yearsOklahoma Statutes, section 76-18
Oregon2 yearsOregon Revised Statutes, section 12.110
Pennsylvania2 yearsPenn Cons Statutes Title-42, section 5524
Rhode Island3 yearsRhode Island Statutes, section 9-1-14.1
South Carolina3 yearsSouth Carolina Code, section 15-3-545
South Dakota2 yearsSouth Dakota Codified Laws, section 15-2-14.1
Tennessee1 years / 3 yearsTennessee Code, section 29-26-116
Texas2 yearsTexas Civil Practice and Rem. Code, section 74.251
Utah2 yearsUtah Code, section 78B-3-404
Vermont3 years12 Vermont Statutes, section 521
Virginia3 yearsCode of Virginia, section 8.01-243
Washington3 yearsRev. Code of Washington, section 4.16.350
West Virginia2 yearsWest Virginia Code, section 55-7B-4
Wisconsin3 yearsWisconsin Statutes, section 893.55

Using Statutes of Limitations

To ensure compliance with statutes of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits, most states use the following formula:

  • The statute will provide a specific period, either from the injury or from the discovery of an injury, that a plaintiff will have to file their claim
  • If the plaintiff cannot file within the stipulated time, they are considered to have waived the right to file a lawsuit unless there is some exception.


Statutes of limitations for medical malpractice claims vary widely by state, typically ranging from 1 to 3 years from the date of injury or discovery of the injury, with specific exceptions potentially extending this period. Make sure to enquire about the specifics of your state’s statutes of limitations and consult with a renowned, experienced lawyer specializing in medical malpractice lawsuits to ensure your claim is valid.

See Also

How Does Malpractice Insurance Work?

Medical Malpractice Law

Malpractice Insurance for Nurses

Cost of Malpractice Insurance for Physicians

HIPAA Medical Record Release Laws

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