California Code of Procedure Section 340.5 sets forth the statute of limitations for dental and medical malpractice cases and provides a two-pronged limitations period.
Section 340.5 requires that you file suit no later than one (1) year from the date the patient knew or reasonably suspected that the defendant doctor improperly or negligently treated or advised the patient. Section 340.5 also provides an outside limitations period, requiring suit to be filed no later than three (3) years after first manifestation of injury, regardless of whether the patient was aware or suspicious that the injury was caused by the defendant doctor’s treatment. Both the one-year and three-year periods must be satisfied for the suit to be timely filed. Although difficult to prove, fraud or intentional concealment of a foreign body with no therapeutic purpose extends the statute of limitations beyond the three (3) years. Also, both the one-year and three-year statutes are generally tolled while the patient continues treatment with the defendant doctor, although this is not an absolute rule.
Statute of limitations issues can be complex, and this discussion is not meant to provide a complete and exhaustive explanation, but merely to inform you that you should not delay in pursuing your claim. Failure to file your lawsuit within the prescribed statutory period will forever prevent you from pursuing your claim.
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