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How much time do I have to file a medical malpractice claim?

Pennsylvania residents who have suffered the consequences of medical negligence or malpractice may face continued medical expenses and, in some cases, even disabilities that will affect the remainder of their lives. However, it is not uncommon for the impact of the medical errors to become evident as time passes. Victims of medical malpractice may want to take note that there are time restrictions to filing claims to pursue recovery of damages.

In Pennsylvania, patients who have suffered injuries that they suspect to have been caused by any type of medical negligence or malpractice have seven years from the date of the incident to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, there are some limitations included. Within those seven years, a victim has only two years after the date that he or she becomes aware of -- or is expected to have known about -- specific factors. These include the occurrence of an injury and the actions that caused it, along with the connection between the actions and the resulting injury.

An exception to the above restrictions is instances where foreign objects were found to have been left in the body of the patient. Furthermore, when a child suffers a medical injury due to negligence, he or she will not be restricted and will have seven years after they turn 20 years old to file a claim. This is regardless of when the childhood injury occurred. In cases where medical negligence caused the wrongful death of a patient, the family or estate of the deceased will have two years from the date the person died to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Residents of Pennsylvania who believe that their medical condition is the result of negligence on the part of medical personnel or professionals may benefit from consulting with a medical malpractice attorney. After assessing the circumstances of your claim, the attorney will offer an opinion about the viability of a medical malpractice claim. In addition, your legal representatives will do everything in their power to ensure your claim is filed within the statute of limitations. Having an experienced legal team to fight for your rights may be invaluable.


Source:, "Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations", Dani Alexis Ryskamp, Sept. 26, 2014

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