For adults, the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice case in Texas is two years from the occurrence of the breach or tort or from the date the medical or health care treatment at issue is completed.
When it comes to minors, the rule is different.
Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code Section 74.251 says that, “minors under the age of 12 years shall have until their 14th birthday in which to file, or have filed on their behalf, the claim.”
The same tort reform law also imposes a statute of repose, which says that, “A claimant must bring a health care liability claim not later than 10 years after the date of the act or omission that gives rise to the claim.”
When considering these different time deadlines, it’s important to think about who owns the claims. It will probably surprise you to learn that not all claims related to a child’s injury belong to the child.
If a child is injured because of medical malpractice, all claims for damages up to the child’s 18th birthday belong to the parents or guardian. The child, on the other hand, owns all claims for harms and losses from the age of 18 forward.
In many medical negligence cases involving injuries to babies or children, some of the significant costs for medical treatment and care will occur before the child turns 18. This is why the most important time period to have in mind for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against a doctor or hospital is two years. I consider it the “gold standard” that preserves the right to recover for all damages.
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Robert Painter is an award-winning medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm PLLC, in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits all over Texas.