Learning that you have cancer is horrifying enough. Finding out that your diagnosis was missed and that your chances for survival are diminished because of medical negligence makes that news even more devastating. Being barred from pursuing a claim because you did not even know your condition was misdiagnosed until after the statute of limitations expired adds insult to injury.
Unfortunately that happens all too frequently in New York, one of only six states that does not have a date of discovery rule for cases involving delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis.
Currently under New York law, the statute of limitations for victims of medical malpractice is two and a half years from the date the mistake is made, not from the date it is discovered. This is grossly unfair to malpractice victims, who may not learn that there was an error in their care until after the statute of limitations has expired.
Lavern’s Law was proposed so that the statute of limitations would only begin to run once the patient became aware of a medical error. This proposal was named for a Brooklyn mom who was not informed of an x-ray showing early stage lung cancer, delaying her diagnosis until the disease was fatal and it was too late to pursue a case. This law had widespread support in 2015, but did not even come up for a vote in the New York State Senate.
Lawmakers have an opportunity to correct this by voting on and passing “Lavern’s Law” before the legislative session ends next week. There is widespread support for enacting a date of discovery rule, but the Senate has not yet committed to bring the bill to a vote.
We believe that the legislature must act to provide justice for victims of medical malpractice. Please e-mail your NYS Senator today and encourage them to vote on and pass Lavern’s Law (S06596) before the end of the legislative session.