The statute of limitations, by definition, is the timeframe set by a state or federal legislative body in the creation of a law which governs when a party must file a claim to enforce his or her right or seek redress after injury or damage. The statute of limitations on personal injury claims varies from state to state. The standard statute of limitations for personal injury cases is three years from the day the injury or damage, in which the claim arises, took place. Mr. Landis J. Camp’s appeal from the Twenty-Fourth Judicial District Court to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for the State of Louisiana against Dr. Chris J. DiGrado and Lammico Insurance Company exemplifies the vital importance of filing a personal injury claim within the statutory period of a given state.
In 2002, Mr. Camp injured his shoulder while working on a job in Maryland. Although Mr. Camp immediately began compensation proceedings with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission, he did not seek treatment from Dr. DiGrado until 2005. Dr. DiGrado performed two shoulder surgeries on Mr. Camp. The first surgery took place in January 2010, followed by a second surgery in March 2011. At this point, Mr. Camp had little improvement of his injuries and was aware that Dr. DiGrado performed his surgeries negligently. However, Mr. Camp did not file a lawsuit against Dr. DiGrado and the insurance company until 2015, after the statute of limitations had expired for his personal injury medical malpractice claim. Therefore, the district court dismissed Mr. Camp’s claims against Dr. DiGrado and the insurance company for failure to state a claim within the statutory period. Mr. Camp subsequently appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Louisiana, which ultimately affirmed the district court ruling and dismissed Mr. Camp’s claim because he did not file his claim more than three years after he ceased treatment with Dr. DiGrado. See Camp v. Digrado, 216 So. 3d 1055 (La. Ct. App. 2016).
In Louisiana, La. R.S. 9:5628(A) sets the statute of limitations, or “prescriptive period,” for personal injury resulting from patient care, including medical malpractice claims. According to this Louisiana law, a personal injury claim arising from patient care must be filed “within one year from the date of the alleged act omission, or neglect; however…claims shall be filed at the latest within a period of three years from the date of the alleged act, omission, or neglect.”
The purpose of having a statute of limitations, especially on personal injury claims, is to ensure a plaintiff makes a reasonable and timely claim for the injury caused to him or her and protects a defendant from litigating unwarranted claims brought against him or her which may or may not be a result of his or her conduct. A statute of limitations holds both parties accountable for their claims and conduct in a timely manner. The Fifth Circuit Court of Louisiana reasoned that based on the record and evidence presented during the district court proceedings Mr. Camp had actual knowledge of his claims as early as October 2011 and January 2012. See Camp v. Digrado, 216 So. 3d 1055 (La. Ct. App. 2016). Therefore, Mr. Camp’s March 2015 claim surpasses the three-year maximum statute of limitations allotted by Louisiana personal injury law.
The requirements for statute of limitations varies from state to state based on the claim. As Mr. Camp’s lawsuit demonstrates, it is crucial to seek the best available legal counsel as quickly as possible in cases involving personal injury.
Additional Sources: Camp v. DiGrado
Written by Berniard Law Firm Blog Writer: Gina McKlveen
Additional Sources on Medical Malpractice: Interlocutory Order and Missed Deadline Ends Malpractice Lawsuit Against Rapides Regional Medical Center, Plaintiff Cannot Bring Medical Malpractice Claim Against Doctor Due to Untimely Filing of Lawsuit