Medical negligence or medical malpractice is defined as an act or omission by a medical practitioner toward a patient, which results in the patient suffering injuries or damages. A medical practitioner may include a doctor, nurse or even the hospital. Connecticut has strict laws against medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice lawsuits typically rely on a three-pronged test. First, the victim must prove that the medical practitioner owed a duty of care to the victim. Second, the act or omission by the medical practitioner resulted in negligence of the duty of care. Finally, the victim must further prove that it was due to the negligence of the medical practitioner that the victim has suffered the injury.
In most cases, medical negligence cases must be filed within two years from sustaining the injury or its discovery in exercise of due care. The statute of repose, however, lies three years from the date of the complaint. Customarily, the victim of medical malpractice or the victim’s family has approximately three years from the date of injury to file the lawsuit, even if the discovery was made late. There may be some exceptions made by the courts, if the victim and the victim’s legal team can prove the need.
One of the most effective ways of extending the statute of limitations is by proving a continuing duty of the medical practitioner involved toward the injured patient. The Supreme Court of Connecticut believes that medical malpractice lawsuits can be paid to drive the statute of limitation, as well as statute of repose in case the medical practitioner had, in fact, violated his continuing duty of care to warn the patient.
A three-pronged test must then be conducted to prove continuing duty of care under Connecticut law. First, it must be proved that the medical practitioner committed an offense in the first place using the above test. Second, it must be proved that the medical practitioner breached his duty of care, which continued after committing the initial wrong. Finally, the medical practitioner’s act or omission must have resulted in a breach in the professional standard of care. The burden of proof in a case against medical malpractice typically lies with the victim.
Source: CGA.CT.gov, “Medical Malpractice-Statute of Limitations,” accessed on Sept. 19, 2014