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Dental Malpractice Statute of Limitations

Knowledgeable Lawyers Explain Connecticut’s Dental Malpractice Statute of Limitations

Bridgeport injury attorneys act promptly to pursue compensation for injured dental patients

MeehanLaw, LLC is a Bridgeport law firm dedicated to representing people throughout Connecticut who have suffered injuries and illnesses due to the negligence of dentists. Our lawyers handle a full range of dental malpractice lawsuits, including helping clients understand and take action within the state’s statute of limitations, which is the window of time in which a lawsuit must be filed. We will act promptly and effectively to ensure your right to sue isn’t compromised.

What is the statute of limitations for malpractice in Connecticut?

Under Connecticut General Statutes § 52-584, a person injured by a negligent medical professional, whether physician or a dentist, in most cases must file their damages claim “within two years from the date when the injury is first sustained or discovered or in the exercise of reasonable care should have been discovered.”

When filing a malpractice suit, you must speak with an attorney, the attorney must gather evidence and then the attorney must file the claim before the two-year mark. That means you should not wait for two years before speaking with a lawyer. If you wait that long, there may not be enough time for the lawyer to investigate the situation and file your claim before the deadline. There are, however, circumstances under which Connecticut law gives plaintiffs more time, and an experienced malpractice lawyer will have a thorough knowledge of what they are.

The discovery rule extends the time limit to file a suit

The discovery rule may extend the time a plaintiff has to file a dental malpractice suit, because it allows for the fact that not all injuries show up immediately after a procedure. For example, a dentist’s failure to detect oral cancer may not be apparent until the cancer worsens and is detected months or even a year later.

Under the discovery rule, the statute of limitations does not begin until the date you discover or should have discovered the injury. This means you can file a lawsuit two years from the date you discover the injury, even if you discover it well after the injury originally occurred. The discovery rule doesn’t apply in every case, so it is important to speak with one of our Bridgeport dental malpractice lawyers to see if it pertains to your injury.

Extending the time limit for reasonable inquiry

In Connecticut, no personal injury or malpractice case can be filed “unless the attorney… has made a reasonable inquiry…to determine that there are grounds for a good faith belief” that negligence has occurred. A certificate of good faith must be filed along with the initial complaint.

It takes time to conduct the “reasonable inquiry,” which then must be accompanied by a written and signed opinion from a similar healthcare provider. As such the statute of limitations will be automatically extended for 90 days to allow time for the reasonable inquiry.

The three-year absolute deadline

Despite these exceptions to the statute of limitations, Connecticut law provides that no malpractice case can be filed more than three years after the date of injury, even if the injury was not discovered right away. This is called the statute of repose, and it cannot be extended. If you discover your injury two-and-a-half years after the date it occurred, that means you will only have six months, not two years, to file your lawsuit. That makes it even more important to retain a skilled malpractice attorney who can represent you efficiently and effectively.

Contact an experienced Connecticut dental malpractice lawyer as soon as you can

MeehanLaw, LLC in Bridgeport understands the time limit imposed upon Connecticut plaintiffs wishing to file a dental malpractice claim and can act promptly to represent your interests. To schedule a consultation, call 203-333-1888 or contact us online.

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  • Bridgeport Office
    76 Lyon Terrace
    Bridgeport, Connecticut 06604
    Phone: 203-333-1888
    Fax: 203-331-0107
  • Westport Office
    29 East Main Street
    Westport, Connecticut 06880
    Phone: 203-635-4688