While most medical professionals do their best to help patients heal or survive, some make mistakes that put their lives at risk. Whether minor or major, willful or accidental, these mistakes can affect patients’ lives for years afterward. If this has happened to you, you will likely want to file a claim to hold your provider accountable. Before you proceed, though, you must make sure you have time to do so under Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims
A statute of limitations sets forth the maximum time frame in which you can bring legal proceedings against another party. In most cases, Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is two years from the date the incident occurred. If you make your claim outside this window, the court will likely dismiss it.
It is possible that you did not discover your provider’s malpractice immediately. In this case, the state’s statute of limitations tolls – meaning it pauses – until the date you discovered your injury. If you were younger than 18 when the malpractice occurred, the statute of limitations tolls until you reach the age of majority.
The statute of repose for medical malpractice claims
Until 2019, tolled medical malpractice claims were still subject to a statute of repose in Pennsylvania. A statute of repose sets forth a final date in which you can bring a claim against another party, regardless of whether you discovered their action by then. For medical malpractice cases, this was, in most instances, seven years from when the incident occurred. Yet, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court struck down the statute of repose in an October 2019 ruling. As a result, if you discovered your provider’s malpractice more than seven years after it happened, you could still bring a claim against them.
No matter when you discover your medical provider’s malpractice, you must file your claim within the appropriate window. A legal professional can guide you through the process in a timely manner.