Tolling Provisions -- Extension of Time Limits Set by Statutes of Limitation
Medical Malpractice, Surgical Malpractice
Statutes of limitation are laws that set out the time limits within which all cases, claims, causes of action, and lawsuits for medical malpractice, surgical malpractice, and wrongful death must be filed in court. If a medical malpractice, surgical malpractice, or wrongful death lawsuit is not filed before the time limit set by the statute of limitation runs out, then the lawsuit is barred and the cause of action lost forever.
States may provide exceptions, called "tolling provisions," to the general rule that a cause of action for medical malpractice or surgical malpractice accrues when the act omission giving rise to the cause of action occurs and the injury is suffered. Tolling provisions may suspend the running of the limitations period and thereby extend the time limit within which a lawsuit for medical malpractice or surgical malpractice must be filed. Most states have a tolling provision that applies to uninterrupted continuing treatment by the doctor who committed the malpractice for the same or similar condition. This tolling provision commonly is referred to as the "continuing treatment rule."
The continuing treatment rule may extend the statute of limitations period in medical malpractice and surgical malpractice cases where there has been substantially uninterrupted treatment by the defendant doctor or surgeon for the same or a related condition. When the continuing treatment rule applies to a medical malpractice or surgical malpractice cause of action, it tolls the limitations period during the uninterrupted continuing treatment. In such cases, the cause of action accrues when the uninterrupted continuing treatment ends, not when the act or omission giving rise to the cause of action for medical malpractice or surgical malpractice occurs and the injury is suffered.
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