3-yr Statute of Limitations in Medical Malpractice Cases against state officers or other governmental bodies.
DATE: April 23, 2009
BILL: Senate Bill 127 and Assembly Bill 179 by Sen. Fred Risser and Rep. Dave Cullen
ISSUE: 3-yr Statute of Limitations in Medical Malpractice Cases against state officers or other governmental bodies.
Background: The bill would apply the same 3-year statue of limitations for medical malpractice cases for privately run health systems to medical doctors employed by the UW Foundation, the UW-Hospital and Clinic Authority and any publicly-run hospital. The UW Foundation or the UW Hospital and Clinic Authority employ UW doctors. It passed the State Senate in 2008, 28-5 on February 19, 2008. (2007 SB 126)
Reason for Support: Wisconsin families who choose UW Hospital & Clinics or UW Health/Physicians Plus should not be treated differently than families who choose privately operated health systems.
Under current law, the injured patients must notify the state or other governmental body of a potential malpractice claim within 180-days if they were treated by physicians or other health care professionals at a health facility operated by a governmental body (such as UW Hospital & Clinics or UW Health/Physicians Plus) and medical malpractice results in injury or death to a family member. Privately run health systems are subject to a 3-year statute of limitations for the same claims.
The current law creates problems in many cases. It can take a long time to receive medical records, which can create problems with the short time period allowed to file a claim. Additionally, a vast majority of patients are not aware of the 180-day period for state run facilities due to the fact that no one is legally obligated to inform them of the length of the statute of limitations. The current situation creates a dangerous maze for the unwary. Patients shouldn’t be penalized by losing their right to proceed in court for failure to navigate through this maze in 180 days.
Wisconsin families should be afforded fair and equal protection under the law, regardless of which hospital or doctor the use.
For more information contact:
Joe Strohl, Governmental Relations