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Statute of Limitations to Sue Physical Therapist in California

At Normandie Law Firm, one of the top legal groups in Los Angeles, we often receive calls from clients who want to acquire as much information as they can about personal injury claims and medical malpractice lawsuits stemming from injuries sustained while undergoing physical therapy. These claims need to be filed with diligence, and our clients want to be sure they are doing everything possible to finish the forms on time and submit them to the correct departments. Our expert attorneys with experience in medical malpractice cases generally take care of all parts of the legal process, but our clients still want to know crucial questions, especially details involving the statute of limitations. Examples of such questions include:

  • Can I sue the physical therapist responsible for my injury?
  • What is the statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims?
  • How long do I have to file a lawsuit against a physical therapist?

Reasons to Sue a Physical Therapist
First and foremost, you would sue a physical therapist for medical malpractice if he caused you to be injured while administering treatment to you or you were under his supervision while at a rehabilitation facility. Regarding medical malpractice, it can be said that your physical therapist owed you a recognized standard of care and then breached it with some negligent act. That breaching then caused an incident, and the incident resulted in actual harm to you. These four occurrences allow you to file a negligence claim in the form of medical malpractice.

A physical therapist may be negligent in his care of you by harming you with excessive stretching, pushing you to overexert yourself so you aggravate an injury, giving you a misdiagnosis, making a judgment error, allowing you to use unstable or faulty equipment, or administering potentially damaging treatment that can afflict other parts of your body. Although physical therapists are skilled in their field, they are still liable to make mistakes and should be held responsible when those mistakes result in harm to others.

If you are the victim of negligent actions by a physical therapist, you may sustain other injuries in addition to the ones you are attempting to rehabilitate. There is a risk of broken bones, sprains, concussions, strains, torn ligaments, muscle damage, nerve damage, and the chance to have to redo an entire surgery if the results were compromised from a fall or tear. It is highly advised that you seek out the assistance of a skilled attorney with expertise in medical malpractice injury lawsuits.

Statute of Limitations Overview
When you receive an injury, you have a set period of time to file a claim. This period of time is called a statute of limitations; in most places, it is between 1 and 6 years. This is essentially a grace period where you can file a claim at any point and it will hold up in court, provided you have enough evidence.

Statutes of limitations were created to protect defendants from long overdue claims and to ensure that plaintiffs act in a diligent, swift manner in pursuing legal action. Additionally, if a plaintiff were to wait over a decade to file a claim, the defendant may have lost evidence, documents, or witnesses due to the time between the incident and the claim. It is wrong to expect defendants to keep potential evidence if they are unaware it will even be evidence in the future. Further, waiting years to file a claim may not result in anything substantial for the plaintiff and will do nothing but harm the defendant. In this case, there is no justice that can be served in the form of compensation, so nothing is left.

For example, if you were to be injured during physical therapy at a rehabilitation center and could not regain full mobility of your arm, you would have grounds to file a medical malpractice claim. However, if you were to wait 10 years before filing the claim, the responsible party may have resigned from his post and the center may have come under new management. It is unfair, in this case, to punish the center, as many aspects of the case have changed, and true justice cannot be wrought from the claim.

An accomplished lawyer with experience handling physical therapy injury claims will be able to make sure you do not miss any deadlines with your lawsuit.

Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice
In the event that you sustain an injury while undergoing physical therapy, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim against the responsible party. This claim has a statute of limitations attached to it; if you exceed the statute of limitations, your case will be thrown out. In the state of California, you will not be able to reopen the case at any point.

The statute of limitations on personal injury claims is 1 year; medical malpractice falls under personal injury, and it is also 1 year. However, the 1-year mark is limited to discovery of the injury – this means that you may not discover an injury until a year after it occurs, and then still have an additional year thereafter to file a claim. In the state of California, though, after three years, you lose all rights to file a medical malpractice claim.

Some exceptions to this rule include:

  • Minor: If you were a minor at the time of the injury, you will have one year from the date of your 18th birthday to file a claim. For example, at the age of 13, you may have sustained a neck injury from a negligent physical therapist. Your statute of limitations would not start until 5 years later at the age of 18, and would be up at the age of 19.
  • Out of State: If the defendant were out of the state for any given amount of time during the statute of limitations period, that time will be added on to the end. A week’s long vacation from a physical therapist will then extend the time to file a claim from 1 year to 1 year and 1 week.
  • Foreign Object: Some injuries can go years without being noticed. Suppose a physical therapist left a foreign object in your body – perhaps a needle from acupuncture or some similar treatment equipment – and you did not notice it for 15 years. One day, the area starts to bother you, and a doctor tells you what the problem is: a needle is embedded somewhere in your body. After the date of discovery, you will have 1 year to file a medical malpractice claim.
  • Death: The death of either the plaintiff or the defendant can extend the statute of limitations on a medical malpractice claim. A plaintiff’s death extends the statute by 6 months, while a defendant’s death extends the statute by 1 year.

To learn more about further exceptions to the statute of limitations, contact a qualified attorney who has experience in physical therapy injury cases.

Why Us – Free Consultation and Zero Upfront Fees
The top-rated Normandie Law Firm has all of the information and experience you need to answer questions about medical malpractice cases dealing with physical therapists. Our experienced lawyers have been involved in personal injury lawsuits for years, and we know the ins and outs of the law better than anyone.

Contact an experienced attorney today to receive a free legal consultation on your claim and we will give you advice on what we believe we can win for you. We operate on a zero fee guarantee policy, which dictates that you do not owe us any money until we win your case. If we don’t win, you don’t pay. We promise.

To discuss a medical malpractice lawsuit regarding physical therapy, call Normandie Law Firm today. A lawyer experienced in physical therapy injury cases will be able to take your call.

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