Broken Arm Not Set Right 5 Years Ago...

by D
(USA)

I broke my arm at age 14, the bones had snapped in half. After the incident I went to a doctor who took x-rays, set my arm and put on a cast. When I went back to get a cast change they did another set of x-rays. My arms was still clearly crooked but the doctor insisted I still had more growing to do and that it would straighten out. I CLEARLY NEEDED SURGERY. My parents didn't want to loose a battle when suing the doctor so nothing was ever done to fix my arm.

I am 19 years old now and my arm is still crooked. I'm unable to turn it but my hand stays numb most days and it always aches. A girl I know broke her arm pretty bad the same way I did and had pins and screws put in her arm and it healed back perfectly fine.

My question is, would I be able to win a battle if I tried to sue the doctor since it has been 5 years?

I know I cannot fix my arm now, what's done is done, but I have to live with this pain forever and deal with the deformity of my arm. I also feel that as time goes by I will end up loosing all feeling/use of my arm because I am barely able to grip now, and also like I said my arm is always numb. I know this is the doctor's fault and I feel like something should be done about it.

Thanks for any info you can give.

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "Broken Arm Not Set Right 5 Years Ago...":

D (USA):

It may not be too late to pursue a claim against the doctor. There have been many cases where parents neglected to take legal action on behalf of their child within the statute of limitations period.

In such cases, where there was evidence of malpractice and the parents neglected to either have the child's injury treated or file a lawsuit for malpractice before the statute of limitations expired, the courts have permitted the statute of limitations to "toll" until the child becomes of legal age.

In those cases, when the child turned 18 (now an adult for purposes of the statute of limitations), they were able to have the statute of limitations "re-opened" or continue to toll until the new expiration date, usually 2 years past their 18th birthday.

In other words, if the statute of limitations period in your state is 2 years, there is a chance that statutory period would "toll," or continue to be valid until you were 20 years old. Tolling means the statute of limitations continues to run.

Unfortunately, the doctor and his insurance company would probably defend any lawsuit you might file. Their primary defense would be that the statute of limitations period expired 2 years after the alleged malpractice, or when you were about 16 years old. Their secondary defense would be there was not any malpractice. This is said not to discourage you, but to afford you additional information upon which to base your decision.

Another unfortunate by-product of filing a lawsuit at this time would be the position doing so would put you in with your parents. Your position would be adversarial to them, as you would have to prove they neglected to properly care for you when you were originally injured.

All medical malpractice lawsuits should be pursued by qualified personal injury attorneys. A medical malpractice lawsuit should never be pursued "Pro Se."

Because most personal injury attorneys do not charge for an initial office consultation, your next step would be to visit with one or more of them. Seek their advice. They will certainly be able to tell you if you have a meritorious lawsuit.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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