In Pennsylvania, medical malpractice actions must be brought within two years from the time that the patient knows or should reasonably know that an injury has occurred, as a result of a medical error. Pennsylvania courts have also adopted what is called the Discovery Rule for injured persons who may have a suspected medical malpractice claim. Now, sometimes the patient does not always know when they have been injured. Example of such scenarios are when something is left behind in our abdomen from a previous surgery or even the diagnosis of cancer. A patient may have undergone testing that shows that cancer is present, but the patient does not have any symptoms. For these situations, the Statute of Limitations clock may not start to run until the diagnosis is made or when the patient becomes symptomatic.
But there are limits to the discovery rule. The discovery rule does not apply to a death case. Where there has been a potential wrongful death, the Statute of Limitations clock starts running from the date of the actual death. The statute for a minor is not limited to two years from the time the malpractice is committed. In Pennsylvania, the statute does not start running until the minor has reached an age of majority, that is, at eighteen. So the statute would run on the child’s twentieth birthday. For medical malpractices arising after the institution of a fairly new law referred to as the M-Care Act, enacted in March of 2002, the discovery rule, is limited by a seven year Statute of Repose. Under those circumstances the Statute of Limitations runs from seven years from the date of the malpractice.
The Statute of Repose does not apply to the situations where a foreign object is unintentionally left in the body during surgery nor does it apply to any kind of a claim on behalf of the minor.
What Are Some Strategies That Help Your Clients Cope With These Hurdles?
I often advise clients that they must be sure not to contribute to or aggravate the injuries they suffer as a result of malpractice. They must follow the medical advice offered to them intended to minimize their injuries. Their job is to focus on getting better, regaining as much of their health as possible and to leave the job of worrying about proving the medical malpractice to my office.
How Does Signing A Consent Form Prior To A Medical Procedure Impact A Malpractice Claim?
The mere fact that you consent for a procedure in no way waives your ability to bring a malpractice claim if the procedure was not performed properly and you suffered an injury. In Pennsylvania, we do have what is called Informed Consent, which is a viable medical malpractice action. Here you would have to prove that you would not have consented to the procedure had you known the risks associated with it in addition to having suffered a serious injury from the procedure.
By providing consent for a procedure, you are giving the health care provider permission to perform the procedure, acknowledging that the procedure does have certain risks associated with it, but that, by no means, you are giving the health care provider carte blanche to perform it improperly.
What Sets Your Firm Apart In Handling Medical Malpractice Claims?
Our results set us apart from other practices. We have been handling medical malpractice claims for more than twenty-five years now with tremendous results. They are highly technical, laborious and costly cases to pursue. You need to be prepared to do so; our firm does not shirk away from the rigors of litigating a medical malpractice case whereas some firms do.
For more information on Statute Of Limitations For A Malpractice Claim, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (215) 569-1212 today.