When we visit a doctor or go to a hospital, we give our trust to the medical professionals assigned to take care of us. Many people receive the care they need and are happy with the results of their treatments. But sometimes treatments or procedures don’t work, medications are improperly prescribed, or a condition is misdiagnosed, leading to additional health issues.
What Constitutes Malpractice
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, hospital, or other health care professional, causes an injury to a patient through an act of omission or negligence.
Errors in diagnosis, treatment, after-care or symptom management can be the cause of negligence that leads to a patient’s medical injury.
There are many causes of medical malpractice, but the most common are:
- Medication errors
- Anesthesia errors
- Surgical errors
- Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis
- Birth injuries
- Failure to obtain the patient’s informed consent for non-emergency treatment or procedures
- Infections, especially in hospitals
Statute Of Limitations In Missouri
Unlike other personal injury cases, the time limit is shorter for this type of lawsuit.
If you feel you’ve suffered an injury due to medical malpractice, you have two years to file a claim, from the date of the injury, except in limited circumstances.
If you’ve discovered a foreign object that was negligently left in your body after a surgical procedure, that two years begins the day you discovered the object. The same terms apply if a doctor failed to notify you of your test results. However, Missouri’s “statute of repose” states that a malpractice action cannot be filed more than ten years after the mistake was made, no matter when it was discovered or what type of mistake.
The statute of limitations is different for children. Missouri law states that a child has until his or her 20th birthday to file a claim if he or she was a minor when the malpractice occurred. This is true no matter what the age of the child when the injury happened. After the 20th birthday, the lawsuit will be dropped.
The full text of Missouri’s malpractice statutes is available here, Missouri Revised Statutes section 516.105.
Affidavit Prior To Filing Suit
Before you can file a medical malpractice suit, Missouri requires you to file an affidavit from a legally qualified healthcare provider who can attest that:
- The health care provider (the defendant) failed to provide the kind of treatment to the plaintiff that a "reasonably prudent and careful health care provider would have under similar circumstances," and
- This provider’s failure caused or contributed to the harm alleged in the lawsuit.
Missouri Revised Statutes section 538.225 also requires that you file the affidavit within 90 days of the day you file the lawsuit, unless you can show “good cause.” If you don’t file the affidavit, your medical malpractice lawsuit will be dismissed.
KC’s Oldest Medical Malpractice Firm
Since 1918, The Popham Law Firm has represented people who have experienced the difficulties of medical malpractice. We have attorneys that specialize in this very complicated and technical field of law. Contact us at (844) 243-2288 or use our online contact form to schedule your appointment.