Pittsburgh Law Firms
When medical malpractice causes serious injury or death, knowing that it could have been prevented, that everything might have turn out fine, is crushing blow to victims and their loved ones. No amount of money can take away the shock, horror, and regret, but compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit can lift the extreme financial burden that medical malpractice injuries can create now and in the future.
Understanding Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice occurs when a health care professional, such as a doctor, or a health care facility, such as a hospital, fails to live up to the standard of care and that failing causes harm to a patient. Sometimes, it is obvious that malpractice has occurred, such as in cases of wrong site surgery. Most medical malpractice is more difficult to pinpoint and may go undiscovered for years. Sometimes patients do now even know that they should suspect medical negligence or error, especially if they have been told, “sometimes these things just happen,” or something else along those lines.
On the other hand, it is important to understand that a poor medical outcome is not always the result of malpractice.
Examples of Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Common examples of medical malpractice include:
- Emergency room malpractice, including patient dumping
- Medication error
- Surgical error
- Anesthesia error
- Birth injury
- Failure to diagnose cancer, and other serious medical conditions
- Failure to diagnose heart attack, and other serious medical events
- Gastric bypass error
- Failure to recommend appropriate testing or treatment, due to financial concerns
- Inappropriate treatment for the patient’s condition or medical history
- Continuing an ineffective treatment
- Patient abandonment
- Failure to obtain informed consent
Time Limits for Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
The statute of limitations is your time limit for filing your lawsuit. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits in Pennsylvania is two years from the date of injury or from the date that the malpractice was discovered or should have reasonably been discovered. However, there is also a statute of repose which can cut your time short. The statute of repose is seven years from the date of injury, meaning that, not matter how long it takes to discover the malpractice, you have no longer than seven years to file. The statute of repose does not apply in cases of foreign object left in body.
For minor children the statute of limitations is tolled, meaning does not run, until their 18th birthday. The statute of repose does not kick in and bar a person injured as a minor from filing before their 20th birthday.