Those who have suffered physical injuries, financial loss or other types of damages at the hands of their physicians often want to gain a better understanding of their legal options. According to the National Institutes of Health, medical malpractice lawsuits are essentially negligence claims. As such, Rhode Island residents who choose to pursue such cases must establish the four elements of a negligence lawsuit:
- The health care provider in question owed a professional duty to the plaintiff
- This provider breached this duty through his/her failure to properly follow the profession’s accepted standards
- This breach caused an injury to the plaintiff
- Damages resulted from these injuries, and these damages can be rectified through restitution
If these elements are all satisfied, plaintiffs may be able to gain compensation that will address their physical, emotional and financial losses.
In addition to these proof requirements, Rhode Island’s medical malpractice statute of limitations must also be followed. As a general rule, the time limit on malpractice lawsuits is three years, and the clock begins ticking at the time the alleged malpractice incident occurred.
There are, however, some exceptions to this rule; the statute of limitations does not begin to run for minors, the mentally incompetent and those suffering from other types of disability until these disabilities are removed. In addition, plaintiffs suffering from injuries that could not have reasonably been discovered at the time of the malpractice incident must bring a lawsuit within three years from the time at which the injury would have been discovered if reasonable diligence had been exercised.