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California Supreme Court issues medical malpractice ruling

A recent California Supreme court ruling may have a significant impact on medical malpractice cases in the state. The ruling addresses the statute of limitation for medical negligence claims in the state. Statutes of limitation are important laws that require certain legal claims to be filed within a specific time period or be forever lost. It is always important to be familiar with these rules and the statue of limitations for a specific claim.

In the present case, the California Supreme Court recently ruled that the statute of limitation for medical negligence applied from the time the injury was suffered because there was a doctor's order in place. Statutes of limitations in medical malpractice claims can be complicated to understand because in some circumstances, the statute of limitation can be measured by when the injury is discovered, for instance, because victims may not always immediately discover injuries that result from medical malpractice.

In the case the court was ruling on, the patient was suing a hospital that provided him care because he had been injured while being transferred on a gurney by hospital staff and knew of the injury at the time. In California, the statute of limitations, or time the injured party has to file the claim, is one year from the time the victim knew of the injury or harm or should have known of the injury or harm. The statute of limitation for general negligence claims is two years. The court found that because the hospital staff transferring the victim was acting under doctor's orders at the time of the injury, it was a medical malpractice claim so the one year statue of limitations applied.

Claims for hospital negligence and medical malpractice can be extremely technical on many levels. Because the damages victims suffer are commonly serious, it is important that victims of medical malpractice have the proper guidance to navigate them through a claim for compensation for damages suffered.

Source: Northern California Record, "California Supreme Court ruling in medical negligence cases has far reaching effect," Dee Thompson, Nov. 26, 2016

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