Medical Malpractice in Pennsylvania
Statute of Limitations: 2 Years
Discovery: 2 Year from Discovery
Liability Rules: Modified Comparative Negligence
What You Should Know
Medical Malpractice cases are for patients who have been misdiagnosed, harmed before, during or after any medical treatment, or injured due to lack of treatment. Each state has their own set of laws and practices surrounding medical malpractice cases. Below we cover a general outline of what you need to know in the case of filing a medical malpractice in the state of Pennsylvania.
Statute of Limitations
A Statute of Limitations is the deadline or time period in which you have to file a medical malpractice case. In Pennsylvania, a patient must first file a civil complaint. Within 60 days of the initial complaint, the patient must file an affidavit of merit approved and signed by an attorney that states an expert on the treatment or diagnosis received was a neglected or omissive act on the healthcare provider or physician’s behalf.
Prior to any exceptions, here is what must first be established or able to be proven in order to file a claim:
- The physician or health care provider owed the given patient any ‘duty’. For example, further treatment, alternate care, guidance, etc.
- The standard of care for the given illness or ailment failed to be met. Each surgery or treatment has a set of conditions, or standards, that must be met in order to be considered acceptable, or at the most basic level, complete.
- There is a compensable injury. Unfortunately not all injuries are compensable. A worst case scenario for medical malpractice is fatality. However, if there are reconcilable damage to the patient that can be rectified to some degree, that will help in filing a claim.
- Lastly, not only does it have to be proven that the standard of care was breached, but also that it was the cause of harm or damage to the patient. For example, if indeed a doctor did neglect the standard of care for a given treatment, but that was not the cause of harm or injury to the patient, it may not be enough to open a case.
Timeline and the Discovery Rule
Once a patient knows, or should have reasonably known, that they have a medical malpractice case on their hands they have two years to file a claim in the state of Pennsylvania. The two year clock begins upon the discovery of the injury or pain due to malpractice and shall not be filed any more than seven years after the initial treatment or diagnosis. For example, a patient may have been improperly diagnosed and treated in January of 2006 and not discovered they were the victim of medical malpractice until February 2013. Since this date exceeds the seven year clock, they would not be legally allowed to file a medical malpractice claim. The only time in which the seven year clock is flexible is in the case that a foreign object was left inside of a patient’s body. Surgical tools, such as scissors, sponges, swabs or any foreign object that was not meant to be left in the patient’s body upon completion of surgery would fall under the foreign object exception.
Pennsylvania has precise and complex limitations on when a medical malpractice case may be filed. Without proper attention and support, a medical malpractice case may be very difficult to manage without experienced guidance and knowledge. For medical malpractice cases, it is best to hire a professional attorney. At Buckingham Barrera Law, we offer the highest care and service. If you find yourself dealing with neglectful physicians or healthcare providers, give us a call us for a free consultation.
How Can We Help You?
If you or a loved one have been injured in the state of Pennsylvania, contact us at 432.570.1919 or email us using the form below for your free, no-obligation consultation. The Buckingham Barrera Law Firm has helped thousands of people in multiple states get the compensation they deserve for their injuries.