Lavern’s Law was recently passed by the NYS legislature this past June to revise New York State’s current medical malpractice statute of limitations law. This specific piece of legislation is worth paying attention to, as it could help you or your family one day.


What Is Lavern’s Law?

Lavern’s Law was named after Lavern Wilkinson, a 41-year-old woman who died from a form of lung cancer. However, her illness could have been cured had her doctors not misdiagnosed the cancer. Due to medical malpractice statute of limitations laws at that time, Ms. Lavern Wilkinson’s family could not take legal action as the time to commence a lawsuit expired before she learned of her misdiagnosis. She left behind a 15-year-old child with autism who required round-the-clock care.

Lavern’s Law, as passed by the NYS legislature, would change when the clock begins to run on New York’s medical malpractice statute of limitations from the time of the misdiagnosis to the time of discovery for cancer patients, only. This gives cancer victims more time to file for a medical malpractice lawsuit if their doctor misdiagnoses their illness. It is an important piece of legislation because oftentimes cancer patients, like Laverne Wilkinson, do not learn of the cancer misdiagnosis until after the  statute of limitations has already expired to pursue a claim.


Lavern’s Law and Medical Malpractice Lawsuits in New York State

Medical malpractice lawsuits can be extremely confusing to follow. Each state has a different statute of limitations that affect victims filing for compensation. Now that Lavern’s Law has passed in NYS, patients who have been misdiagnosed and were not able to properly treat their cancer in NYS have the opportunity to file for malpractice at the time of discovery of the mistake. Nonetheless, this was not the original intent of Lavern’s Law. The original piece of legislation intended that all forms of illnesses and the time of discovery of those misdiagnosed diseases should apply, not just for cancer cases. Many of our NYS Legislatures are still currently fighting so that the date of discovery rule for medical malpractice claims applies for non-cancer patients as well. Yet, the passing of Lavern’s Law for cancer patients in NYS is still a win and had it been passed sooner, it would have given Ms. Lavern Wilkinson’s estate the opportunity to seek compensation to take care of her 15-year-old autistic child after her passing.


How Lavern’s Law Helps You

While you may believe Lavern’s Law does not directly affect you, it may make a difference to you or a family member. No one plans to become sick. We trust our doctors with our lives. If they make a mistake, it is not fair that you should pay the price. Lavern’s Law gives cancer patients or their families in NYS more time to take legal action from the date they discovered the medical error. This medical malpractice lawsuit could mean the difference between paying off medical bills or funeral expenses and going into serious debt for a mistake that was not your fault. Doctors make mistakes, and Lavern’s Law, as recently passed in NYS, would give cancer patients and their families more time to recover damages as a result of a medical error.


If you have been injured due to the careless mistake of a physician, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. You should not be left with medical bills or funeral arrangements because of a medical malpractice mistake that was not your fault. Medical malpractice cases have a strict time limit in which to commence the claim, as mentioned above, so it is wise to contact a personal injury lawyer immediately. Brindisi, Murad, Brindisi and Pearlman are experienced medical malpractice lawyers that have handled numerous cases in NY state. Contact The People’s Lawyer for a free consultation today.




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