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How Long Do You Have to Sue a Doctor in NYC?

Many patients do not expect that they will have to file a lawsuit against a doctor that they trusted to provide them with medical care. Unfortunately, some patients may suffer a severe injury due to the negligent actions of a doctor. If you or a family member was injured due to the negligence of a doctor, contact an experienced New York City medical malpractice lawyer today. At Sullivan & Galleshaw, LLP, we are dedicated to providing to our clients with the aggressive legal representation they need to litigate their complex claims. Our firm is here to explain how long an injured patient has to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against a doctor in the State of New York.

Statute of Limitations for NYC Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Carelessness or negligence on behalf of a medical practitioner could easily lead to a case of medical malpractice in NYC. There are a number of scenarios that can be considered medical malpractice. For example, if a doctor prescribed a patient with medication that the doctor should have reasonably been aware would poorly interact with other medications the patient takes, the doctor could be held liable for medical malpractice. Other examples of medical malpractice include:

If you were injured under any of the circumstances listed above or under other circumstances, you should consider pursuing an NYC medical malpractice lawsuit against the parties responsible. However, if you intend to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you should be aware of the statute of limitations.

The statute of limitations is a law that sets the length of time that a claimant has to file a particular type of civil case against another. The filing deadline set by the statute of limitations can vary depending on the laws of a state. In New York, a claimant has 2 ½ years from the date of the malpractice to file a legal action with the court.

If a plaintiff does not file their claim within the 2 ½ years, they risk the possibility of having their claim barred. Specifically, a defendant can successfully request that a court dismiss the plaintiff’s claim because the plaintiff failed to meet the filing deadline. If this occurs, a claimant may not have an opportunity to pursue compensation for their injuries.

To learn more about how the statute of limitations works, you should continue reading and speak with an experienced New York City personal injury lawyer today.

Exceptions to Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations in NYC

Despite the 2 ½ filing deadline for medical malpractice lawsuits in the State of New York, there are some exceptions to this rule that may apply to a claimant’s case. For example, there is a cancer misdiagnosis exception for potential plaintiffs in a medical malpractice claim. Specifically, if a patient’s doctor failed to diagnose cancer, the statute of limitations deadline begins to run when the patient discovers the misdiagnosis. Under these circumstances, the injured patient would only have two years to file their lawsuit instead of two and a half years.

There are also other exceptions to the NYC medical malpractice statute of limitations.

Foreign Object

If you underwent a surgical procedure and a surgeon left an item inside your body, you may have a viable exception to New York’s statute of limitations. If you discover a medical instrument in your body after a surgical procedure, if the statute of limitations has already expired, the claimant must file their claim within one year from the date of the discovery of the medical instrument.

Alternatively, a claimant can also have a one-year filing deadline from the date when they should have been reasonably aware of the existence of the medical instrument in their body.


If a minor is injured due to medical malpractice, they are provided with an extended statute of limitations to file their claim. Specifically, a minor will have ten years from the date of the malpractice. However, if the minor is eligible for the cancer diagnosis or foreign object exception, the filing deadline for their claim may be different.


If a potential plaintiff has been diagnosed with insanity, the statute of limitations for their malpractice claim will only begin to run once they have been cured of the condition.

Wrongful Death

If an individual passed away due to medical malpractice in NYC, the surviving family members would have two years from the date of their death to file a claim with the court.

It is important to note that wrongful death is limited to only certain family members. This means that distant family members of the decedent cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit. Specifically, New York only permits the following family members to file a wrongful death lawsuit:

  • Children of the decedent
  • Parents of the decedent
  • Surviving spouses
  • Executors responsible for the estate of the decedent

As you may have noticed, the State of New York does not permit siblings and cousins to file wrongful death lawsuits. The sole exception is when a sibling or cousin was named as a personal representative by the decedent. This status allows them to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit.

Consult with Our NYC Medical Malpractice Lawyers to Pursue Your Lawsuit

If you were a victim of medical malpractice in NYC, consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney today. The legal team at Sullivan & Galleshaw, LLP possess decades of combined legal experience, and we would be honored to use this experience to fight for you. To schedule a free case evaluation, contact Sullivan & Galleshaw, LLP at (718) 843-0300.


Over our many years practicing personal injury law, our highly experienced legal team has earned a reputation for excellence. Our attorneys have appeared on major media outlets such as Fox News and MSNBC . Our firm’s legal accomplishments have been profiled by the New York Law Journal, the Los Angeles Times, ESPN, and the Associated Press. We have won multiple verdicts in excess of $1 million, making us proud members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, a prestigious organization which admits fewer than 1% of all attorneys in the United States. We were named Super Lawyers in 2011, and enjoy a perfect 10/10 Superb rating on national attorney database Avvo.

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