A lawsuit for medical malpractice in Texas can put a physician’s career in jeopardy. The state has a statute of limitations for such actions, limiting the time during which a person may bring them. Broadly speaking, no medical malpractice lawsuit may be filed more than two years after the date of the tort or breach or after the date that treatment is completed. This is from Section 74.251 of the Texas Civil Practice Code.

Several cases have modified or impacted the rule. Kimball v. Brothers, for example, held that the statute requires the period of limitation to run from the date of the tort or breach in cases where a precise date can be determined. The case of Bala v. Maxwell resulted in a ruling that the statute of limitations for medical malpractice applies in cases of malpractice that results in death, rather than the statute of limitations for wrongful death. The difference is that the two year limit period runs from the date of the injury in med mal cases and a separate two year limit period runs from the date of death in wrongful death cases.

According to the statute, people who are under 12 years old at the time of injury have until they turn 14 to file a medical malpractice claim in Texas, but that rule has been declared unconstitutional. The widely-believed rule is that the statute of limitations does not begin to run for minors until they reach 18 years old.

In cases where a doctor is threatened with a medical malpractice lawsuit, a Texas lawyer might be able to help. A lawyer who handles physician representation may help by reviewing the facts of the case and gathering evidence to build a defense theory. He or she may assert that the statute of limitations prohibits the action and secure a dismissal in some cases.