In many instances of malpractice, a patient may not be immediately aware that medical negligence has occurred. While wrong site surgery will be obvious, a misdiagnosis or prescription drug error may not be readily apparent until months or even years afterwards. In these cases, most states allow extra time for the discovery of medical negligence before the statute of limitation for filing a medical malpractice claim begin. This is called the discovery rule.

It is important to note that not all states provide time for the discovery of the negligence. In these states, the statutes begin when the negligent care is performed, not when the patient becomes aware of it. Please refer to this list of time limits for the statute of limitations in your state.

Remember: all patients have a legal right to receive professionally sound medical care. Any violations in the standard of care can create a liability for the negligent doctor. If you are concerned you may be the victim of medical malpractice, find a lawyer immediately.

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