Everyone procrastinates to one degree or another. For most people, it involves minor things such as putting off raking leaves or washing the car or visiting an optometrist. Sometimes procrastination can have serious consequences, however, as a professor of pharmacy law and policy at the University of Kentucky recently made clear.
Dr. Joseph L. Fink III wrote in a recent issue of Pharmacy Times that if a person who has been harmed by a pharmacy’s medication error waits too long, courts will reject the lawsuit. Waiting or delaying a lawsuit over a pharmacist’s negligence can mean the statute of limitations is reached and your time to file your claim expires.
The doctor writes that “statutes of limitations are legislatively imposed time limits within which a lawsuit must be commenced.” The legislature creates a time limit to ensure that legal claims are filed while events are still fresh in people’s minds and documentation is likely to be available.
The doctor noted one case in particular where a patient waited three and a half years to file a lawsuit against a pharmacy chain over a dispensing error. The patient had a prescription for ciprofloxacin (an antibiotic). The pharmacy put a label on the bottle of pills that instructed the patient to take four times the amount prescribed by the patient’s doctor.
The person eventually had to be hospitalized and treated for an overdose of the antibiotic.
However, the statute of limitations on claims against licensed professionals in that state (for some reason, Dr. Fink declined to identify the state in which the error occurred) was two years, meaning the claim was filed a year and a half too late.
Here in Kentucky, the statute of limitations on filing a legal claim over a pharmacy error is one year from the date of the pharmacist’s negligence. That means anyone who has suffered harm — or has had a loved one suffer harm because of pharmacy negligence — should speak with a Covington medical malpractice attorney experienced in pharmaceutical litigation.