The last thing that anybody wants to experience is an injury caused by the negligence of a medical provider. Unfortunately, medical mistakes are not uncommon in this country. Researchers from Johns Hopkins have stated that preventable medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. In general, medical malpractice victims have two years from the point they discover or reasonably should have discovered, the injury to file a lawsuit against the negligent party. However, the statute of limitations for these cases is different when the victim is under the age of 18 at the time of the injury.
Each state is responsible for setting time frames for how long victims of medical malpractice have to file lawsuits in civil court. The Pennsylvania medical malpractice statute of limitations is two years from the date at which the patient first discovers, or reasonably should have discovered, their injury. The discovery part of this statute of limitations is referred to as the “discovery rule.”
However, no medical malpractice claim may be filed if more than seven years have passed from the date that a medically negligent act occurred, regardless of when the injury was discovered.
The Pennsylvania medical malpractice statute of limitations is going to be different for any person under the age of 18 who is harmed by a medical mistake. Pennsylvania has what is called a “tolling statute” for minors injured by medical errors. In these cases, the two-year statute of limitations will not begin until the injured child reaches the age of 18. When they do reach this age, the claim may be made for damages any time before the individual reaches 20 years of age.
However, in these cases, it is advisable that parents or guardians take steps to hold the perpetrators of medical malpractice accountable on behalf of their child before the child reaches the age of 18. In any personal injury or medical malpractice case, the evidence is critical. The more time that passes between the alleged medical malpractice and the eventual lawsuit, the more time there is for evidence to disappear or degrade, or for people’s memories of the events to fade.
If you or somebody you care about has been harmed by a medical error prior to turning 18, you need to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. At the Weitz Firm, our qualified and experienced team will conduct a full investigation into your case in an effort to secure maximum compensation on your behalf. This can include coverage for: