How Long Do You Have to Sue for Medical Malpractice in PA?

November 15th, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Medical Malpractice

There is a time limit to sue for medical malpractice in Pennsylvania. It is two years after you knew or reasonably should have known about the medical error that caused injury or death. This time limit is called a statute of limitations.

The statute of limitations is set by the Mcare Act in Pennsylvania. There are occasions when the statute of limitations can be “tolled” based upon circumstances such as fraud or the inability of a reasonably diligent patient to know the relationship between the medical care received and the harm. This is a very difficult test, which has been written about by Cliff Rieders in his text, Medical Malpractice. This book is used by most judges and lawyers in the state. Cliff Rieders was also involved in the writing of the Mcare Act, and was President of the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association, now the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, when the law was negotiated and passed.

In addition to the statute of limitations, there are other laws that you need to consider if you are wondering whether you can sue. Since medical malpractice law is so complicated and the time to file passes quickly, it makes sense to contact an experienced Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney if you even suspect you have a medical malpractice case.

If you or a loved one has suffered or someone has died because of negligence due to medical malpractice you may be entitled to receive financial compensation to cover both economic and non-economic damages such as medical and hospital expenses (past, present and future), rehabilitation expenses, loss of wages as well as loss of future wage horizon, pain, suffering, loss of life’s pleasures, disfigurement; and, in the case of a spouse, loss of society and consortium. There are other components that may be applicable as well. Your case must be handled correctly and competently, or you may never collect the compensation you are entitled to.

The skilled and experienced Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney Clifford A. Rieders of Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann has spent decades honing his skills and successfully representing Pennsylvania families who have suffered an injury or loss due to negligence and malpractice by medical professionals and hospitals. Our attorneys offer personal attention and loyalty to every client, aggressively fighting for their right to compensation.

We offer a free telephone consultation to examine the facts of your case and determine how we can help, so do not delay. Contact us online or call our offices at (570) 323-8711 to set up your free and confidential consultation.

How Long Do You Have to Sue for Medical Malpractice in PA?

Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations states that the time to file a medical malpractice claim expires two years after the cause of action accrued. In some situations, there is a “tolling” possibility such as where there was fraud or a person could not have known, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, of the relationship between the medical care and the harm they suffered. In many circumstances, the clock starts running form the time you are aware of the following:

  • The date of the care, treatment or surgery;
  • For “tolling” purposes, the time that you discovered the fraud or became aware reasonably of the relationship between the care and the harm suffered;
  • You suffered an injury,
  • The conduct that caused the injury, and
  • The relationship between the injury and the conduct that caused it.

Regardless of the above circumstances, Pennsylvania, under the Mcare Act, did have a statute of repose, which was seven (7) years for certain care and treatment, but that has recently been held unconstitutional by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

In Pennsylvania, the law seems to have moved in the direction of finding that for both a wrongful death and survival action, a case must be filed within two (2) years of the date of death. That was not always the situation, and there are those who still believe that there is a different statute of limitations for wrongful death as opposed to a survival action. Again, you need to talk to somebody who is experienced in the field of medical malpractice.

A person who is injured by medical negligence while still a minor does not have to start a case prior to age 20 and has seven years from the date of their 20th birthday to bring a case to court, regardless of the date of the injury.

If you do try to file a medical malpractice lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired, the court may very well dismiss the case. You should always seek legal advice to make sure you understand how the Pennsylvania statute of limitations applies to your situation, as well as other Pennsylvania medical malpractice laws that determine whether you can pursue a case.

Can You Sue For Medical Malpractice in Pennsylvania?

There are other factors you should know about that go into determining whether you can sue for medical practice in Pennsylvania.  These include:

  1. Is it Medical Malpractice?

Medical providers, hospitals, and institutions must uphold proper standards of care to avoid injuring patients. However, not every mistake or injury rises to the level of negligence, and medical providers are not necessarily responsible for every medical complication, injury or death that occurs.

According to Pennsylvania law, medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional commits medical negligence by violating a reasonable standard of care. The medical negligence must have directly resulted in the patient’s injuries.

Pennsylvania law requires additional proof of medical malpractice in order to protect medical providers from false claims. You and your attorney must prove:

  • You had a doctor-patient relationship with the medical provider.
  • The injury was caused by negligence of the medical provider. You may need to get the opinion of a medical expert to prove this.
  • The injury caused damages. There must be a causal relationship between the injury and damages to you, which may include loss of income, additional medical and rehabilitative expenses, or loss of life’s pleasures, and other alleged losses.
  • The doctor was negligent and caused the injury by acting in a way contrary to the standard of care as to how a competent doctor should act.
  1. Will a lawyer sign a “Certificate of Merit”?

According to Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure1042.3, et seq., your attorney must be able to sign a “certificate of merit” from an appropriately licensed professional stating that this professional believes there is a reasonable probability that your health care provider’s actions “fell outside acceptable professional standards” and caused the harm you allege. This certificate must be filed along with or within 60 days of filing the initial complaint that starts the lawsuit.  There may be questions concerning a certificate of merit as to hospitals when vicarious liability or corporate claims are involved.

How Long to Sue for Medical Malpractice

If you or your loved one has suffered from medical malpractice, the time to sue is now. Do not delay. If you have a claim, consult Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann contact us online or call (570) 323-8711 today.

For any medical malpractice case, time is of the essence, no matter what the circumstances. It is essential to have a skilled and knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer on your side, especially since the laws are so complicated.

Whether in settlement negotiations or pursuing a favorable trial verdict, the experienced Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorneys of Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann are familiar with the law and thoroughly prepared and committed to achieving a just outcome and getting you the compensation you deserve.

Cliff Rieders is a Past President of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, formerly Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. Rieders has won numerous awards and recognition from the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, and he received the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority recognition award.

Cliff Rieders was a founder of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority and served on same for 15 years. Rieders was a Law Clerk in the federal court system for one of the most well-known and longest serving federal judges in the country, the Honorable Malcolm Muir. Cliff has received the George F. Douglas Amicus Curiae Award, as well as the Milton D. Rosenberg Award from the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers.

Rieders is on committees and organizations that write the law in many fields of practice. Cliff Rieders was involved in the writing of the Mcare Act, which governs medical liability actions in Pennsylvania. Cliff Rieders wrote the book on medical malpractice that lawyers use in the state. Cliff teaches the subject of medical malpractice at seminars attended by the leading lawyers in the state. Cliff Rieders is recognized as an outstanding authority in the medical malpractice field.

Cliff has even testified before the legislature on medical malpractice laws. Rieders is a Nationally Board certified specialist for Civil Trial and Civil Practice and Procedure, a cum laude graduate of New York University as well as Georgetown University Law Center. Rieders is admitted in Pennsylvania, New York State, District of Columbia and numerous federal courts including the Supreme Court of the United States.

Rieders is a life member of the American Law Institute which publishes recommended legal principles utilized throughout the United States. Cliff Rieders is the lawyer that other lawyers call for counsel and advice in the medical and hospital malpractice and pharmaceutical/vitamin supplement fields. Cliff Rieders does substantial work in multi-district litigation in connection with pharmaceutical products and medical devices.

Based in Williamsport, we serve clients throughout the state of Pennsylvania, offering a free consultation on all personal injury matters. More than that, we offer you experience, knowledge, compassion, and a long history of results.

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