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Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations in New York

Your surgeon operated on the wrong leg. A nurse left a surgical tool inside your body during surgery. Your doctor failed to diagnose your cancer.

These are all examples of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is still a common occurrence in today’s society, despite technological advances. In fact, it is believed that as many as 440,000 people die from medical malpractice every year. This makes medical malpractice an epidemic as huge as heart disease and cancer.

If you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice, the law allows you to sue the liable party for damages. However, you have to file your claim within a certain amount of time. Once you go past the time limit, you lose your legal right to recover compensation. Therefore, time is of the essence. The sooner you file your medical malpractice lawsuit, the better.

Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations

So, when is it too late to file a claim? Each state is different. Most allow you two years to file a claim, while some allow just one year. Others offer three, four or, in the case of Maryland, five years.

New York is a little different in that it sets a time limit of two and a half years. According to Civil Practice Law and Rules Section 214-A, patients have two years and six months to file a medical malpractice claim for medical, or podiatric malpractice.

But there’s another reason why New York is different. The time limit of two years and six months starts on the day the act of medical malpractice occurred. In most states, the statute of limitations begins when the patient first notices the issue.

These two events often do not occur at the same time. A person may notice stomach pain a year after a surgical procedure but may not have known that the surgeon cut into a nearby organ during the procedure. This means that since one year has already passed, the patient now has one year and six months to file a claim.


There are a couple of exceptions to the time limit of two years and six months. When a foreign body is discovered inside a patient’s body, the patient has one year from the date of discovery to file a claim. The clock does not start on the date of the surgery. Also, in cases where a medical professional fails to diagnose cancer, the patient has up to seven years to file a claim, or within two years and six months from the date of last treatment for a medical condition or the time at which a person should have known about the negligence.

Work With an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you have suffered serious injuries due to medical malpractice, time is of the essence. New York’s medical malpractice laws give you little time to file a lawsuit for your pain and suffering.

Contact the medical malpractice attorneys at Peters Berger Koshel & Goldberg, P.C. for help with your case. They can help determine if you are still within your rights to file a lawsuit against the liable party. Contact our office at 718-596-7800 to schedule a free consultation.