Statute of Limitations
While the effects of a doctor’s carelessness or a pharmaceutical company’s concealment may last a lifetime, the window of time in which victims have to take action does not.
Boston dangerous drug lawyers at The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman know that victims of product liability, medical malpractice and wrongful death are constrained by time. In most cases, they will only have three years from the date of injury in which to take action.
Our compassionate legal team understands that not all injuries are known or knowable in that time frame, and there may be some exceptions. However, it’s imperative that those affected seek advice from an experienced attorney as soon as they suspect they may have an actionable case. These are complex cases as it is, so the more time your lawyer has to prepare, the better for you. Delaying this crucial step in the litigation process could result in a claim being barred before it ever even gets off the ground.
This is imperative because a person who is injured by dangerous drugs may be entitled to collect compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of consortium (loss of services of your spouse)
- Emotional distress and/or pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
A statute of limitations is a set amount of time one has to file a claim. There are statutes of limitation in both criminal and civil cases. Here, we are concerned exclusively with civil claims (brought by the individual seeking compensation rather than the state seeking punishment).
Statutes of limitation vary from state-to-state. For example, while you may have three years to file a claim in Massachusetts, you might have two years or four years somewhere else.
- The time period for statute of limitation purposes begins on the date your claim “accrues,” which is either the date of the injury or death or when you knew or should have known the cause of the injury or death was attributed to defendant’s actions.
- Once the statute of limitations has expired, a lawsuit cannot be filed.
There are a number of laws in Massachusetts that spell out the time limits on each type of tort law claims. The complexity of your lawsuit may depend on the type of claim you are asserting.
In most cases involving dangerous drugs, we’ll be dealing with one of the following:
- Product liability – This is action against a drug manufacturer or seller for placing a defective product or dangerous product in the hands of consumers. There are a number of different types of product liability claims, including strict liability, failure to warn and breach of express and implied warranties.
- Medical malpractice – This is action against a doctor, nurse or other health care provider or facility for failure to adhere to the professional standard of care for his her position.
- Wrongful death – This is action against a person, company or organization for some type of negligent misconduct resulting in the death of another. Wrongful death actions may fall under the umbrella of either product liability or medical malpractice.
- Personal injury – Action against another for negligent misconduct resulting in the death of another. Again, may fall under the umbrella of product liability or medical malpractice.
- Product Liability – Per Mass Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 260 § A, unless otherwise specified, actions of tort or contract to recover for personal injuries stemming from product liability have to be brought within three years of the date the cause of action accrues.
- Medical Malpractice – Per Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 260 § A, medical malpractice claims have to be filed within three years of the time the action accrues. In a claim of medical malpractice, a case of action accrues either when the patient had sufficient notice he or she was harmed or knew or had sufficient notice of the cause of harm. There is no requirement that plaintiff have notice the defendant was actually responsible for the injury, only that there was sufficient knowledge or notice that medical care was given by the defendant that may have caused the injury.
- Wrongful Death – Per Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 229 § 2, action has to be taken within three years from the date of death OR within three years from the date when decedent’s executor or administrator knew OR in the exercise of reasonable diligence, should have known of the factual basis for a cause of action.
- Negligence/ Personal Injury – Per Mass Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 260 § A, those filing personal injury claims have three years to take action.
If you think you may have a claim, it’s best to inquire now to ascertain whether you do than to wait too long – only to find out it’s too late.
Contact the Boston personal injury lawyers at The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman by calling (617) 367-2900.