One of the most important considerations for a medical malpractice case is the amount of time you have to file a claim. All states have a statute of limitations in place when it comes to medical malpractice cases, though they vary from state to state. The statute of limitations for a medical malpractice case in Pennsylvania is two years from the date the medical mistake occurs.
However, there are various exceptions to this two-year time limit. Today, we want to get in-depth on all PA medical malpractice statue issues to you can be well informed when making a decision. Please understand how important it is to get started on your case as soon as possible. Missing the deadlines discussed here will almost certainly result in your case being dismissed.
If you want to discuss your case with a Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney, contact Ciccarelli Law Offices and schedule a free consultation. Our team has years of experience and can help you figure out your options.
Are minors treated differently?
When it comes to medical mistakes that have occurred to minors, the rules change a bit. The minors tolling statute says that if a child is injured in a medical malpractice case before they turn 18, the two-year statute of limitations does not begin until the child turns 18. In these cases, a child injured by a medical mistake at any point before they turned 18 could file a medical malpractice claim until they are 20 years old.
What is the discovery rule?
What happens if you do not find out that a medical mistake occurred until after the two years has expired? As we said, the two-year statute of limitations begins counting down on the date the medical mistake occurs.
There are exceptions to this in some cases. If the injured person did not know about their injury and later “discovers” it, the two-year countdown would begin on the date of discovery, not the date the mistake happened.
The discovery rule is very important for medical malpractice cases because the signs and symptoms of many medical mistakes do not show until well after the mistake has been made. For example, there are times when surgical instruments are left behind in patients. Surprisingly, these instruments may not affect a person until later. A patient may not feel any pain until years later. In some cases, patients do not know this happened until routine scans for something else show the foreign object.
Once the discovery of the object has been made, the victim has two years to file a medical malpractice claim to recover damages.
The discovery rule is not limited to foreign object cases. It can be applied to many different types of medical malpractice. You should seek a consultation from a qualified medical malpractice attorney about the particular aspects of your case.
What you can do now
If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence or carelessness of a medical professional, please seek legal assistance as soon as possible. You do not want to miss the deadline and be unable to recover the following medical malpractice damages:
- Compensation for all medical expenses related to the error(s)
- Coverage of lost income and benefits if you cannot work
- Loss of enjoyment of life damages
- Pain and suffering damages
- Possible punitive damages against the healthcare provider/agency responsible
The most important thing for you right now is to ensure you have the compensation necessary to recover and have peace of mind.