If you believe you have been the victim of medical malpractice committed by your provider, you have limited time to pursue a legal case to recover compensation for the harm and loss that you may have suffered due to the malpractice. It is important to know how long you have to sue your doctor for malpractice, since filing an untimely suit may lead to your claims being permanently dismissed.
The Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims
In Pennsylvania, medical malpractice claims are governed by the statute of limitations, which gives a victim of medical malpractice two years from the date (or latest date) that their provider rendered negligent medical care. If a lawsuit is filed after the statute of limitations expires, the doctor or medical provider who is the defendant in the case can file a motion with the court to have the lawsuit permanently dismissed.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
However, there are exceptions to the statute of limitations that can pause or extend the statute of limitations. Examples of these exceptions include:
- The injured patient is physically or mentally incapacitated and unable to file a lawsuit. In these circumstances, the running of the statute of limitations is paused during the injured patient’s period of incapacity
- The negligent provider engages in fraud or misconduct to conceal evidence of their liability, such as by providing false test results or diagnoses or destroying or altering medical records
- The injured patient is under the age of 18. The statute of limitations does not begin running for a minor until they turn 18, meaning they have until their 20th birthday to file suit.
The Discovery Rule
In many cases, a patient’s injury or harm from malpractice is not immediately known. It can take weeks, months, or even years for symptoms of an injury or illness caused by medical malpractice to appear. For this reason, another exception to the statute of limitations known as the discovery rule can also pause or toll the limitations period for a patient who does not immediately realize that they have been injured.
The discovery rule states that the statute of limitations does not begin to run until an injured victim “discovers” their injury and that it was caused by another party’s negligence, or the date when the victim should have discovered those facts through reasonable diligence and investigation. As a result, the statute of limitations on a medical malpractice claim will not begin to run until the patient finds out that they have been harmed and links it to their provider’s care.
Contact A Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Consultation About Your Case in Pennsylvania
Were you or a loved one injured due to medical malpractice in Pennsylvania? Then you need to talk to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible for guidance on how to proceed. The Pittsburgh medical malpractice attorneys at Matzus Law, LLC are prepared to assist you with your legal claim. We represent victims of negligent surgeons, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists throughout Pennsylvania, including Butler, Cranberry Township, Greensburg, and Washington. Call us today at (412) 206-5300 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation. Our main office is located at 310 Grant St., Suite 3210, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.