Anyone harmed by a health care provider’s error in Kansas usually has the option of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in the state's courts. In that situation, one of the first considerations is making sure to get the case started in accordance with the filing deadline set by the statute of limitations.
A statute of limitations is a state law that puts a strictly-enforced time limit on a potential plaintiff's right to have a court consider any kind of civil lawsuit. There are different time limits for different kinds of cases, but regardless of the specific deadline, if you try to get your lawsuit filed after the applicable time period has expired, the court is almost certain to dismiss your case (although there are almost always exceptions that could alter or extend the filing deadline). In this article, we'll summarize the statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits in Kansas.
The Kansas Filing Deadline for Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
The statute of limitations for Kansas medical malpractice lawsuits is set by Kansas Statutes Annotated section 60-513, which sets a two-year time limit for filing "an action arising out of the rendering of or failure to render professional services by a health care provider." That means most situations where a licensed hospital or licensed health care professional made a negligent error in providing care (or failing to provide care) to a patient. Specifically, a "health care provider" under Kansas law includes, according to Kansas Statutes Annotated section 60-513d:
- a person licensed to practice any branch of the healing arts (including physicians and surgeons)
- a person who holds a temporary permit to practice any branch of the healing arts
- a person engaged in a postgraduate training program approved by the state board of healing arts
- a licensed medical care facility
- a health maintenance organization
- a licensed dentist
- a licensed professional nurse
- a licensed practical nurse
- a licensed optometrist
- a licensed podiatrist
- a licensed pharmacist, or
- a licensed physical therapist.
When does the two-year clock start running? Section 60-513 says it's the day on which "the act giving rise to the cause of action first causes substantial injury, or, if the fact of injury is not reasonably ascertainable until some time after the initial act," then the clock starts when "the fact of injury becomes reasonably ascertainable to the injured party."
But keep in mind that, as the plaintiff, in order to pause the start of the two-year period beyond the date of the commission of the underlying medical error, you'll have the burden of showing that the injury wasn't "reasonably ascertainable" right away.
Finally, Kansas follows a four-year "statute of repose" in medical malpractice lawsuits, which acts as a larger over-arching deadline. This rule says that you can’t rely on any "discovery" extension once four years have passed since the date of the medical error. In other words, even if the medical error or the resulting injury wasn't "reasonably ascertainable," if more than four years have passed since the medical error, you're barred from filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
What If You Miss the Filing Deadline?
As mention above, if you try to file your Kansas medical malpractice lawsuit any time after the applicable statute of limitations deadline has passed, and no exception applies to extend the deadline, the health care provider you're trying to sue (the defendant) will almost certainly ask the court to dismiss your case as time-barred. And the court is sure to grant the dismissal, leaving you without any legal remedy for even the most egregious of errors by a health care provider.
More Kansas Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Laws
Besides the statute of limitations deadline, there are a number of other laws that are specific to Kansas Medical Malpractice Lawsuits. If you have questions about filing a medical malpractice case in Kansas, an experienced lawyer will have the answers. Get the basics on Selecting the Right Medical Malpractice Lawyer.