An overwhelming majority of the Legislature passed a bill called “Lavern’s Law” back in June, which would give cancer patients alleging malpractice twice as long to bring action than what is currently mandated. Governor Andrew Cuomo has yet to sign the bill and is waiting for it to be formally sent to him.
New York State law currently requires that medical malpractice lawsuits be brought to action within 15 months after a medical mistake is made. This has proven to work against patients as, many times, the negligence is not discovered until it’s too late.
Lavern’s Law would increase the statute of limitations for medical malpractice to two and a half years. Essentially, the clock would start running from the time that the misdiagnosis is discovered.
In order to reach a compromise, legislators have only included cancer patients in this bill and not all instances of medical malpractice.
Governor Cuomo has expressed his agreement with the principle of having the clock on medical malpractice cases start at the moment of discovery. Although, groups that represent doctors and hospitals are actively pushing him to veto the bill.
Trial lawyers working to represent injured individuals want Lavern’s Law signed in order to give patients affected by malpractice a fair chance.
“The bill guards the interests of patients who might otherwise be frozen out of seeking just compensation simply because they had no way of knowing that a grave diagnostic error had been made.”
Read the full New York Times article here.