Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice: Laws, Claims and Damages
UPDATED: March 7, 2012
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PENNSYLVANIA MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
In Pennsylvania, the area of medical malpractice law comes into play when a health care provider has negligently injured a patient. Medical negligence occurs when a health care provider has acted below the standard of care in which other similarly situated professionals would act, injuring a patient as a result. Such an act (or failure to act) gives rise to a medical malpractice lawsuit under Pennsylvania law. Medical malpractice claims in Pennsylvania can arise from any of the following:
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a medical condition;
- Mistreatment or failure to treat a medical condition;
- Errors made by nurses;
- Hospital oversight;
- Errors in surgery.
Keep in mind that this list is merely illustrative of the types of acts or omissions that can lead to a medical malpractice claim. If you believe that the negligence of a health care provider caused your injury, contact an experienced Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney right away.
Who Can Be Sued in a Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Case?
In Pennsylvania, any health care provider can be held liable for medical malpractice. A health care provider is defined as a licensed individual or entity that provides medical services or treatment to patients. This includes medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, medical day care centers, and any other medical organizations. This also includes any persons such as nurses, midwives, doctors, specialists, and dentists. If you have questions about who or what qualifies as a health care provider, consult an attorney in your area.
Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
In order to recover damages for injuries caused by a negligent health care provider in Pennsylvania, an injured party must file a medical malpractice suit within two years of discovering the injury, or two years from the date the injury reasonably should have been discovered. However, in no case may a party file a medical malpractice suit more than seven years after the date the negligent act or omission occurred. Pennsylvania does provide exceptions to these limitations for minors. It is extremely important to file your claim within the statute of limitations, as failure to do so will leave you without a remedy for your injuries.
Caps on Medical Malpractice Claims in Pennsylvania
Unlike some other states, Pennsylvania law places no limits on compensatory or punitive damages. Injured patients should consult a medical malpractice attorney to determine the reasonable amount of damages that they can expect for their injuries.
Filing a Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Claim
Filing your Pennsylvania medical malpractice claim within the statute of limitations is only the first procedural hurdle to overcome. In order for the plaintiff to build a strong case, they will need to hire and depose expert witnesses as well as make numerous court appearances. An attorney can help with these procedural aspects of the case as well as determine whether more defendants should be added to the lawsuit. More defendants means more defense lawyers, all of whom are likely to be accomplished and knowledgeable in this area of the law. Having an experienced Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney on your side will help make this process easier on you. A medical malpractice attorney has expert knowledge of the law and will provide leverage against the health care provider’s team of defense attorneys. Most importantly, a medical malpractice attorney will prevent you from making simple procedural mistakes that could lead to a lower recovery or total loss of your claim.
Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Laws
- Insurance: Preliminary Provisions: Definitions: Title 40, Chapter 3, §1303.103.
- Judiciary and Judicial Procedure: Limitations of Time: Two year limitation: Title 42, Part VI, Chapter 55, Subchapter B, §5524.