Statute of Limitations

Most states have statute of limitations that define the amount of time during which an individual can file a lawsuit related to negligence or malpractice. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations on most malpractice or negligence claims is two years from the date of injury.

There are circumstances that affect or alter the limitation for filing a lawsuit, including claims where the victim is a child or minor (minors tolling statute) or when the injured party is unaware in spite of reasonable investigation that their injury was caused by malpractice or negligence (the discovery rule).

The Discovery Rule

The discovery rule may extend the amount of time in which you have to file a claim in cases of medical negligence or malpractice. The person is unable, despite reasonable diligence, to learn that they are injured or that their injury may have been caused by the negligence of a health care provider. For example, a patient undergoes surgery and experiences discomfort after the surgery. They assume that this discomfort is simply part of the healing process. Years later it turns out that a sponge or other piece of surgical material was left inside of their body during the procedure and this piece of material has caused traumatic damage to an organ. Depending on the amount of time that has passed, the discovery rule may allow for the recovery of damages, even if the two year statute of limitations has already expired.

Statute of Repose

In 2002, a piece of legislature called the MCARE Act was passed in Pennsylvania. The MCARE Act includes a statute of repose, which places a time limit of how long a victim has to file a claim in Court, even if the discovery rule would otherwise apply and extend the time permitted to file a lawsuit.

Due to the extreme importance of the matter to you, and the complexities of the law and the pressures you may receive from an insurance carrier, we encourage any individual who has suffered an injury to contact our office.

When calling our office, you will likely first talk with one of our litigation secretaries who will obtain from you basic information concerning your accident and injuries. Your case will then be reviewed by one of our attorneys. One of our attorneys or staff will call you back. If yours is the type of case that we normally handle we will then offer to meet with you. In addition, after you have met with us, you will be under no obligation to retain our services.