The statute of limitations to file a lawsuit against a federal medical facility is two years from the date that the malpractice occurred and within six months according to the Federal Tort Claims act to file a lawsuit of the postage date of the final denial written demand. You will hear back after you have filed a written demand for money and find out whether or not the federal agency will deny the demand or make a settlement offer. Once this is done, you can file the lawsuit next. You will need a qualified attorney to help you file the lawsuit to get the best possible outcome.
The Federal Tort Claims Act requires a patient to file a written demand for money with the responsible agency within two-years of the malpractice. The agency (Indian Health Service or the Veterans Administration) then is required to deny the written demand, pay the written demand, or make another settlement offer. The agency’s response to the written demand then triggers the time to file the lawsuit. The FTCA requires the patient to file the lawsuit within six months after the postage date of the final denial written demand. If the federal agency does not respond to the written demand then several courts have held that the patient potentially can file a lawsuit at any time. The prudent plaintiff, however, will file suit if the agency does not respond in six months and deem the agency’s failure to respond a denial of the claim.
The Federal Tort Claims Act has a few exceptions to toll the statute of limitations: discovery rule and fraudulent concealment. The clock starts ticking “when the plaintiff has discovered both his injury and its cause.” This means the patient must “must have knowledge of facts that would lead a reasonable person (a) to conclude that there was a causal connection between the treatment and injury or (b) to seek professional advice, and then, with that advice, to conclude that there was a causal connection between the treatment and injury.” However, in Haceesa v. United States, the Tenth Circuit held that the New Mexico Medical Malpractice Act’s caps on damages apply to federally run hospitals and clinics in New Mexico. It is unclear if the application of Medical Malpractice Act’s interpretation of the statute of repose will also apply.
The fraudulent concealment doctrine may also apply to the FTCA. To establish a fraudulent concealment case against, the patent must prove: “(1) the United States [or its agents] used fraudulent means; (2) successful concealment from plaintiffs; and (3) plaintiffs did not know or by the exercise of due diligence could not have known that they might have a cause of action.”
An injured minor patient, however, is not relieved from the requirements of filing a written claim with the federal agency. The same is true for disabled persons.
If you need assistance understanding the statute of limitations in order to successfully sue a federal medical facility we will walk you through the process. We can be reached at (505) 273-6208. The Davis Kelin Law Firm is Albuquerque’s Premier Personal Injury Law Firm. We utilize an aggressive trial approach to the get results you deserve.
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