Accrual, which usually refers to the date that would give rise to a potential plaintiff’s right to bring a cause of action, can often change the circumstances surrounding whether a claim is viable or not in Indiana. For example, this inquiry is particularly relevant when time is of the essence in a medical malpractice lawsuit and the determination of the plaintiff’s accrual date could render their lawsuit invalid under the statute of limitations.
In a recent Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals opinion, the court considered a federal medical malpractice case involving accrual dates. The plaintiff brought suit on behalf of herself and her son against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) after her son sustained a permanent injury to his left arm during birth. Once her son was born, the plaintiff immediately noticed that her son’s arm was injured. Because the hospital where the plaintiff delivered her child was a federally qualified health center that receives federal funding and grant money from the federal government, it means that its employees are covered against malpractice claims under the FTCA. The plaintiff, however, did not realize that the hospital qualified as a federally qualified health center despite the fact that such information was available on the internet, which meant that she would be unable to sue for medical malpractice.
After exhausting other remedies, the plaintiff eventually refiled the case more than three years after her son was born. The defendant, the United States, moved for summary judgment on the basis that the plaintiff’s claims had surpassed the FTCA’s two-year statute of limitations.