Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations (by state)

Medical Malpractice Statutes of Limitations Medical Malpractice Statutes of Limitations

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 are applicable to civil and criminal actions, but their time limits vary according to the type of claim being filed and the jurisdiction.

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

In short, statutes of limitations are legally enforceable deadlines for filing a lawsuit. In case the plaintiff or prosecutor fails to file the lawsuit within the stipulated time period, then 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

There are certain cases where statutes of limitations are not applicable. For instance, first-degree murder charges do not have any statutes of limitations. It means that a prosecutor can file charges against a murder suspect after any duration of time.

In contrast, medical malpractice cases do 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 limit of time to file a lawsuit against the defendant.

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional fails to adhere to the basic standards of providing care when treating, diagnosing or managing a patient, which has resulted in injury to the patient.

The statute of limitations for medical malpractice can seem complicated for a layperson. The reason behind this is that 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, there could be instances where 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 when it comes to medical malpractice cases, especially if the case contains elements of fraudulent activity on the defendant’s end. Most states have separate limits if a case involves a foreign object left inside a patient’s body after surgery, and is discovered much later.

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

State Time-Limit Statute-of-Limitations
Alabama 2 years Code of Alabama, section 6-5-482
Alaska 2 years Alaska Statutes, section 09.10.070
Arizona 2 years Arizona Revised Statutes, section 12-542
Arkansas 2 years Arkansas Code, section 16-114-203
California 1 year / 3 years California Code of Civil Procedure, section 340.5
Colorado 2 years Colorado Revised Statutes, section 13-80-102.5
Connecticut 2 years Gen. Stat. of Connecticut, section 52-584
Delaware 2 years Title 18 Delaware Code, section 6856
D.C. 3 years D.C. Code Section 12-301
Florida 2 years Florida Statutes, section 95.11(4)(b)
Georgia 2 years Code of Georgia, section 9-3-71
Hawaii 2 years Hawaii Revised Statutes, section 657-7.3
Idaho 2 years Idaho Statutes, section 5-219
Illinois 2 years Illinois Comp. Statutes, section 5/13-212(a)
Indiana 2 years Indiana Code, section 34-18-7-1
Iowa 2 years Iowa Code, section 614.1
Kansas 2 years Kansas Statutes, section 60-513
Kentucky 1 year Kentucky Revised Statutes, section 413.140
Louisiana 1 year Louisiana Revised Statutes, section 9:5628
Maine 3 years Maine Revised Statutes Title 24, section 2902
Maryland 3 years / 5 years Maryland Cts & Jud. Proc. Code, section 5-109
Massachusetts 3 years Massachusetts General Laws Ch. 260, section 4
Michigan 2 years Michigan Comp. Laws, section 600.5805
Minnesota 4 years Minnesota Statutes, section 541.076
Mississippi 2 years Mississippi Code, section 15-1-36(1)
Missouri 2 years Missouri Revised Statutes, section 516.105
Montana 3 years Montana Code, section 27-2-205
Nebraska 2 years Nebraska Revised Statutes, section 44-2828
Nevada 3 years Nevada Revised Statues, section 41A.097
New Hampshire 2 years New Hampshire Revised Statutes, section 507:C-4
New Jersey 2 years New Jersey Statutes, section 2A:14-2
New Mexico 3 years New Mexico Statutes, section 41-5-13
New York 2 1/2 years N.Y. Civil Practice Law and Rules, section 214-a
North Carolina 3 years North Carolina General Statutes, section 1-15
North Dakota 2 years North Dakota Century Code, section 28-01-18
Ohio 1 year Ohio Revised Code, section 2305.113
Oklahoma 2 years Oklahoma Statutes, section 76-18
Oregon 2 years Oregon Revised Statutes, section 12.110
Pennsylvania 2 years Penn Cons Statutes Title-42, section 5524
Rhode Island 3 years Rhode Island Statutes, section 9-1-14.1
South Carolina 3 years South Carolina Code, section 15-3-545
South Dakota 2 years South Dakota Codified Laws, section 15-2-14.1
Tennessee 1 years / 3 years Tennessee Code, section 29-26-116
Texas 2 years Texas Civil Practice and Rem. Code, section 74.251
Utah 2 years Utah Code, section 78B-3-404
Vermont 3 years 12 Vermont Statutes, section 521
Virginia 3 years Code of Virginia, section 8.01-243
Washington 3 years Rev. Code of Washington, section 4.16.350
West Virginia 2 years West Virginia Code, section 55-7B-4
Wisconsin 3 years Wisconsin 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 of time, either from the injury or from the discovery of an injury, that a plaintiff will have to file their claim
  • If the plaintiff is unable to file within the stipulated time, then they are considered to have waived the right to file a lawsuit unless there is some exception.


The medical malpractice statutes of limitations vary from state to state, and the plaintiff is usually allowed 2 years time frame to file a claim. 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 that 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

I am a dedicated healthcare researcher and an enthusiast specializing in medical grants, medical education and research. Through my articles, I aim to empower healthcare professionals and researchers with valuable insights and resources to navigate these critical aspects effectively.

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