When a law changes, the question often arises as to when it is actually effective and whether it can affect or change the rights of parties that may have filed a lawsuit when the old laws were in effect. A new case discusses this principle in the context of medical malpractice.
Law Changes and Retroactivity
It is generally accepted that when a law changes that affects substantive rights, the law change is not retroactive. If the law changed to say that you could only own two dogs, for example, and you already owned three, the change would not apply to you. Law changes that only change procedure (such as how the courts operate), however, generally are retroactive.