1. Statutes of Limitation.  The time limit imposed by law for filing a case is called the statute of limitation. Medical cases statues of limitation are usually shorter than others. For example, the statute of limitation for a tort case in Arkansas is 3 years, while the statute of limitation for a medical negligence case is 2 years. The statute of limitation for a medical negligence case in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas is 2 years; but only 1 year in Tennessee. There are varying exceptions for minors for all statues of limitation.  Don’t wait!  It takes a long time to get medical records and review a case – all the while the statute of limitation deadline clock is ticking!

2. The Three Legged Milk Stool.  All medical negligence or medical malpractice cases require three legs: liability (fault), proximate cause and damages.  Let the defense kick any one of those legs away, and the milk stool falls!

A. Liability (fault) has to be clear.

B. Damages have to be significant.  I would be a wealthy man if I could sue doctors for having a bad bedside manner, but that is not significant damages.  Significant damages usually include serious permanent injury or death.

C. Proximate cause is tricky.  If a doctor drives his sports car 100 miles per hour through an intersection but hits no one, he is negligent; but his negligence did not cause any harm.  If he fails to diagnose a stage 4 tumor in a patient about to die from that tumor, the doctor cannot successfully be sued even though the failure to diagnose was negligent (below the standard of care).

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