Every year in the U.S., there are hundreds of thousands of deaths that occur due to medical malpractice, and there are even more patients who suffer from medical errors who don’t die, but are harmed in some way. It may seem like hospitals are the most likely place for errors, but they also often occur right in doctors’ offices, where patients are treated for routine illnesses not medical emergencies. When these mistakes happen, and they cause someone harm or injury, the patient may have a case of medical malpractice.
Some of the most common errors made in doctor’s offices include: medication errors (wrong medication, wrong dose, adverse interactions with other medication), misdiagnosis, and mixing up patients or their diagnoses. All of these things could potentially have long-term effects or even be life-threatening, and may be cause for a medical malpractice claim. However, bringing a lawsuit against your doctor is complicated and can take time, and the clock is ticking.
There is a statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases that are established by each state. A statute of limitations is the amount of time that a patient has to file a suit against a doctor or other medical professional. Pennsylvania law allows two years for patients to sue for malpractice. The two-year clock starts ticking when the patient discovers the injury has occurred, or when the patient reasonably should have discovered the injury. So the countdown could be started before the patient even knows.
Additionally, Pennsylvania malpractice law states that, in most cases, patients cannot file suit more than seven years after the medical error occurred, regardless of when the subsequent injury was discovered.
There are some exceptions that can be considered to increase the two-year limit. The first is if the injured patient is a minor. According to the Minor’s Tolling Statute, when someone under 18 years of age is a victim of medical malpractice, the clock doesn’t start counting down until they turn 18. That means that they have until they reach the age of 20 before the statute of limitations is expired. The second exception is made when the Discovery Rule comes into play. The rule delays the start of the two-year period when the patient did not discover the injury until after that time is up. When this happens, the patient may have two years from the time of the discovery to file suit.
If you believe that you or your loved one is a victim of medical malpractice that occurred in your doctor’s office, you need to contact a medical malpractice attorney before the statute of limitations runs out. At Ross Feller Casey, we are experienced with medical malpractice and we can help you determine if you have a case. Our attorneys are knowledgeable in both legal and medical fields. We even have a team of doctor-lawyers on staff to assist you.
Please contact our office for your free case evaluation. All of our malpractice attorneys work on a contingency basis, so you won’t have a fee unless there is a financial recovery in your case.