When it comes to receiving medical treatment, the last thing anyone expects is to be left in a worse condition than when they sought help. Unfortunately, medical malpractice remains a significant concern across the United States, including Pennsylvania. Understanding your rights and the legal avenues available is crucial if you or a loved one have suffered due to a healthcare professional’s negligence. 

Can you sue a doctor for malpractice in Pennsylvania?

Navigating the complexities of medical malpractice laws can be overwhelming for patients and their families. However, knowing that there is a pathway to seeking justice and compensation can provide a sense of relief and empowerment. In Pennsylvania, the law provides mechanisms to hold healthcare providers accountable for their actions or inactions that lead to patient harm. From surgical errors and misdiagnoses to birth injuries and prescription mistakes, the spectrum of medical malpractice is broad, and the impact on patients can be life-altering.

At Matzus Law, LLC, we understand the emotional, physical, and financial toll that medical malpractice can impose on individuals and their families. Our commitment is to guide you through the legal process, providing the support, expertise, and advocacy needed to achieve the justice and compensation you deserve. 

Understanding Medical Malpractice in PA

Medical malpractice in Pennsylvania, as in other states, involves a healthcare provider’s failure to meet the standard of care expected in the medical community, resulting in harm to a patient. This standard of care is based on what a reasonably skilled medical professional, under similar circumstances, would have done. When a provider’s negligence deviates from this standard, leading to patient injury or worsening of the patient’s condition, it constitutes malpractice.

Examples of Common Malpractice Cases

  • Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis: Misdiagnosing a patient’s condition or failing to diagnose it in a timely manner can lead to incorrect or delayed treatment, potentially causing the patient’s condition to worsen.
  • Surgical Errors: These can range from operating on the wrong site to leaving surgical instruments inside a patient’s body. Surgical errors can have devastating effects on a patient’s health and quality of life.
  • Medication Errors: Prescribing the wrong medication or dosage can lead to severe adverse effects. Medication errors can occur at various stages, from the prescribing physician to the dispensing pharmacist.
  • Birth Injuries: Medical negligence during childbirth can result in injuries to the baby, such as cerebral palsy or Erb’s palsy, or harm to the mother. These cases are particularly tragic due to their long-term impact.
  • Failure to Treat: Failing to provide appropriate treatment for a diagnosed condition, either through neglect or inadequate follow-up, can lead to patient harm.

Understanding these examples is crucial for patients who believe they have been victims of medical malpractice. Identifying the negligence and its impact on your health is the first step in pursuing a legal claim. In Pennsylvania, the law recognizes the complexity of healthcare and sets specific guidelines for what constitutes malpractice, emphasizing the importance of expert testimony to establish the standard of care and how it was breached.

Legal Requirements for Filing a Malpractice Claim in PA

Pursuing a medical malpractice claim in Pennsylvania is governed by specific legal requirements that are crucial for any potential lawsuit. Understanding these requirements is fundamental for patients who seek to hold healthcare providers accountable for their negligence.

Statute of Limitations

In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is generally two years from the date the injury was or reasonably should have been, discovered. However, this time frame can vary in certain circumstances, such as cases involving minors or when the negligence was discovered later. It’s imperative for potential claimants to be aware of these deadlines to ensure their right to seek compensation is not forfeited.

Certificate of Merit

A critical step in filing a medical malpractice claim in PA is the requirement to submit a Certificate of Merit. This document must be filed within 60 days after the complaint is filed. It asserts that an appropriate licensed professional has reviewed the case and believes there is a reasonable basis to conclude that the care, skill, or knowledge exercised or exhibited by the healthcare provider fell outside acceptable professional standards and that this deviation was a cause of harm to the claimant.

Expert Testimony

Medical malpractice cases often hinge on complex medical issues that require the insights of experts. Pennsylvania law mandates that claimants must present expert testimony to establish both the standard of care that was breached and the causation between that breach and the patient’s injury. Selecting the right expert, who is not only credentialed but also well-versed in the specific medical field at issue, is a critical component of building a strong case.

Burden of Proof

As with other types of legal claims, the burden of proof in a medical malpractice case lies with the plaintiff. This means the patient (or the patient’s representative) must convincingly demonstrate that it is more likely than not that the healthcare provider’s negligence caused the injury. This involves presenting a preponderance of evidence related to the negligence and the resulting harm.

Understanding and navigating these legal requirements can be challenging, but they are essential for successfully pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Pennsylvania. With the expertise and guidance of a dedicated legal team like Matzus Law, LLC, patients can navigate these hurdles and work towards achieving the justice and compensation they deserve for their suffering.

The Process of Suing for Medical Malpractice in PA

Initiating a lawsuit for medical malpractice in Pennsylvania involves a series of steps, each crucial for building a strong case and ultimately achieving justice for the victim. Understanding this process is essential for anyone considering legal action against a healthcare provider for negligence.

Consultation with a Specialized Attorney

The first step in the process is to consult with a law firm that specializes in medical malpractice, such as Matzus Law, LLC. During this consultation, you’ll discuss the details of your case, including the medical treatment in question and the harm suffered. This initial evaluation is critical for determining the viability of your claim.

Gathering and Reviewing Medical Records

With your permission, your attorney will gather all relevant medical records and thoroughly review them to understand the extent of the malpractice and its impact on your health. This step often involves consulting with medical experts who can provide insights into the standard of care and how it was breached.

Filing the Complaint and Certificate of Merit

Once a solid foundation for your claim has been established, your attorney will draft and file a legal complaint against the healthcare provider(s) responsible for the malpractice. Accompanying the complaint, a Certificate of Merit, as previously discussed, will be filed to assert that an expert has reviewed your case and believes it has merit.

Discovery Phase

After the complaint is filed, the case enters the discovery phase, where both parties exchange information through depositions, document requests, and interrogatories. This phase allows both sides to build their cases by gathering evidence, understanding the other party’s claims and defenses, and consulting further with experts.

Negotiations and Settlement

Many medical malpractice cases are settled before going to trial. Your attorney will negotiate with the defendant’s legal team to reach a settlement that adequately compensates for your injuries and losses. Matzus Law, LLC prides itself on its ability to secure fair settlements for its clients, recognizing when settlement offers are in the best interest of the client.


If a settlement cannot be reached, the case may proceed to trial. At trial, both sides will present their evidence and arguments to a judge or jury, who will then make a decision regarding liability and damages. Trials can be lengthy and complex, but with a skilled legal team by your side, you can navigate this final step towards justice.

Navigating a medical malpractice lawsuit in Pennsylvania requires a deep understanding of the legal process, meticulous preparation, and skilled advocacy. With the support of Matzus Law, LLC, victims of medical malpractice can confidently take the necessary steps towards holding negligent healthcare providers accountable and securing the compensation they deserve.

Contact Matzus Law, LLC Today

When facing the aftermath of medical malpractice, choosing the right legal representation can significantly impact the outcome of your case. Matzus Law, LLC, with its deep expertise and dedication to clients, stands out as a beacon of hope for those seeking justice in Pennsylvania.

At Matzus Law, LLC, our focus is on medical malpractice law. Our team is not only well-versed in the legal landscape of Pennsylvania but also deeply understands the medical complexities that underpin these cases. This dual expertise allows us to effectively navigate the challenges of medical malpractice claims, from identifying breaches in the standard of care to articulating the nuances of your suffering in legal terms. Contact Matzus Law, LLC today for a free, no-obligation consultation, or call us at (412) 206-5300 to talk with our legal team to learn more about your options in your case.