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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
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Experience:  Attorney with significant personal injury experience
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What are some examples of "concealment" or "fraud" mentioned

Customer Question

What are some examples of "concealment" or "fraud" mentioned in the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice suit?
Is forging an informed consent form, or declaring one exists when one doesn't, enough to roll the statute of limitations, keeping it from starting until the point where the patient discovers they did not sign the form, or it was forged?
Also, if a doctor tells the patient they are going to pay him a settlement, and go through some motions which appear as if they are reviewing the case and getting other medical opinions, only to wait until the statute of limitations is up, then the doctor tells the patient to get lost.... That's pretty much tough for the patient. The statute is up- no law suit. True or untrue?
Submitted: 18 days ago.
Category: Personal Injury Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 18 days ago.

Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** it will be my pleasure to assist you.

In order to toll the statute you need to demonstrate fraud that prevented the plaintiff from discovering the malpractice. Forging a consent form is certainly fraudulent, but it doesn't "prevent" the plaintiff from discovering the malpractice. They would presumably know they didn't sign the form as soon as it was presented to them. But even if they didn't, whether or not the patient consented to the procedure actually has nothing to do with whether the standard of care was breached in performing the procedure. They are two completely separate things so I just don't see how forging a consent form prevents the plaintiff from discovering the malpractice.

As for telling a patient they may settle, that is a common tactic but would not typically toll the statute of limitations. The only exception MIGHT be if the physician was still treating the patient at this time and it could be argued that the physician was using their influence as the patient's treating doctor improperly in order to trick them into missing the statute. I think that would be a very, very tough argument though, and it also assumes continued treatment.

I hope this answers your questions. If I can clarify anything at all for you, please do not hesitate to ask. It is my pleasure to assist you further if necessary....

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