Statutes of Limitation on Medical Malpractice Claims in Utah

The statute of limitation in Utah for most personal injury claims is four years from the date of injury.  A statute of limitation is a law that places a time limit on when a potential plaintiff is allowed to sue. These laws attempt to balance several interests, including: 1) the right of the person suing to bring that suit; 2) the right of a person that may be sued to eventually be free of the worry that they might be sued; and 3) the fact that evidence regarding the issue may be lost or forgotten over time. If the potential plaintiff fails to file the lawsuit before the statute of limitation expires, her potential claim is forever barred.

Most people feel that this provides sufficient time to determine to file a lawsuit, find an attorney, do whatever preliminary research or investigation is necessary, and file the claim. However, the Utah Health Care Malpractice Act prescribes a much shorter statute of limitation for medical malpractice cases, “within two years after the plaintiff or patient discovers, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have discovered the injury, whichever first occurs . . . .” This shorter statute is the result of special interests lobbying the legislature to add another consideration into the balance. Specifically, the legislature is trying to save medical malpractice insurance companies money by making it more difficult to bring a medical malpractice claim. This type of “tort reform” severely limits a injured person’s ability to receive compensation for their injuries.

Since there is substantially less time to find an attorney and complete whatever preliminary investigation may be necessary to file the claim, it is essential that a person injured by medical malpractice contact a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. DO NOT WAIT to discover if the injury will get better or wait to see how bad it is going to get. Because of the complex nature of medical malpractice, it may take an attorney six months to a year to evaluate a potential client’s case and file the claim. Do not lose any chance of your recovery because you waited too long. Call G. Eric Nielson & Associates immediately if you feel that you or someone in your family is has been a victim of medical malpractice or negligence. Time is of the essence. We can usually tell you over the phone if you have a case.