Medical malpractice is the failure of a medical care provider to act within the standard of reasonable professional practice applicable to his or her profession or specialty. The plaintiff, or injured patient, must prove the relevant standard of care for each profession or specialty through expert testimony. For a suit to be governed by the medical injury statute, and thus be a “medical malpractice” suit, the claim must arise from any adverse, untoward or undesired consequences arising out of or sustained in the course of professional services rendered by a medical care provider, whether resulting from negligence, error, or omission in the performance of such services; from rendition of such services without informed consent or in breach of warranty or in violation of contract; from failure to diagnose; from premature abandonment of a patient or of a course of treatment; from failure properly to maintain equipment or appliances necessary to the rendition of such services; or otherwise arising out of or sustained in the course of such services. In New Hampshire, there is a three year statute of limitations that governs when medical negligence claims may be brought. All fifty states have similar limitations periods, but they can range from one to seven years. In short, if a patient does not file suit within three years of suffering an injury caused by medical negligence, the patient is later prohibited from doing so. There are exceptions to this three year period, such as with claims brought on behalf of minors or persons with permanent disabilities, but most claims are governed by the general three year statutory period.
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