Nearly everyone experiences some kind of medical issue that requires a hospital stay at some point in their life. When it does happen, you expect the best possible care and treatment from the doctors and other medical professionals in the hospital. Sometimes though, mistakes are made on the part of doctors or hospital staff. When that happens, and you or a family member is harmed as a result, you may be able to sue for medical malpractice.
When it comes to malpractice lawsuits, it’s important that you act quickly because there is a statute of limitations for how long you have to file suit. A statute of limitations is the amount of time that a patient has to file a lawsuit against a doctor, hospital, or other medical professional. As a general rule, the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice suit in Pennsylvania is two years. The law allows the patient up to two years from the time they discover (or reasonably should have discovered) that they were injured after a hospital stay, and that it was the fault of the doctor or staff. However, the law also states that regardless of when the error is discovered, the lawsuit must be filed within seven years.
There are two exceptions to the law though, and they are as follows:
- When the patient is a minor. The Minor’s Tolling Statute allows for added time if the patient is under the age of 18. If that is the case, then the two-year limit begins when the child reaches 18 years of age, meaning that the child has until they turn 20 years old to file suit.
- When the injury wasn’t apparent until later. The other exception is called the Discovery Rule. There are some cases when the injury caused by malpractice goes unnoticed by the patient after the two- year statute of limitations. If that happens, the Discovery Rule may be applied and the lawsuit may still be filed. One such example is when a foreign object is left inside a patient during surgery. It may not become apparent until the patient has an x-ray sometime later, perhaps even a few years later. In that case, the patient may have two years after the x-ray to file suit.
As you can see, malpractice cases are complex and they require both legal and medical knowledge. At Ross Feller Casey, we have doctors who are also lawyers on staff to provide that expertise. Our attorneys can review your medical charts to see if you have a case.
It is important that you act quickly if you discover that you or a loved one has been injured after a hospital visit. Your time to file suit could be running out.
Please contact one of our experienced medical malpractice attorneys today for a free consultation. At Ross Feller Casey, all malpractice lawsuits are handled on a contingency basis, so you don’t pay unless a financial recovery is made.