How Long Do Minors Have to Sue A Physician in Pennsylvania?

Because of the specialized rules and requirements related to medical malpractice cases, consulting with a personal injury lawyer with experience litigating and settling personal injury cases may be crucial to your case. Powell Law has several experienced medical malpractice attorneys, including James F. Mundy, Esq., on its distinguished staff of practitioners.

Society attempts to facilitate resolution within a reasonable time. Legislatures enact statutes of limitation to specify the length of time within which a claimant or prosecutor must file a case. Statutes of limitation vary by cause of action or type of case. Statutes of limitation for medical malpractice claims in Pennsylvania also vary depending on the age of the plaintiff.

Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is two years. This two-year period is subject to a discovery rule which states that the two-year period does not begin until the patient discovers or reasonably should have discovered that the injury occurred. Failure to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations bars the claim and leaves the patient without a legal remedy.

When an injury does not immediately appear in a patient, Pennsylvania law provides that the statute of limitations is tolled, which means the two-year period does not begin to run until the date when the patient knew or should have known about their injury.

Exceptions to the two-year rule are as follows:

  • When the patient’s injury is not immediately known
  • When the patient is a minor – under age 18

Pennsylvania’s statute of repose provides an ultimate seven-year deadline for filing claims. This period starts on the date when the medical error occurred for filing a medical malpractice claim, regardless of whether a patient knew or should have known about the injury. Thus, patients who learn of a medical error after the seven-year deadline have no right to sue. The statute of repose has two exceptions:

  • Lawsuits alleging that a healthcare provider unintentionally left a foreign object in a patient’s body are not subject to the seven-year-deadline and may be brought at any time within two years of the patient’s discovery of the medical error.
  • The statute of repose does not apply to lawsuits based upon the death of a patient. Those suits must be filed within two years after death unless there is evidence of fraud related to the cause of death.

The statute of limitations is tolled for minors until they reach their 18th birthday, thus giving them until they reach age 20 to file a claim for injuries based on medical malpractice.

If you or a loved one has suffered any type of injury, contact Powell Law at (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE and you don’t pay anything unless we win. Our attorneys, past and present, have represented individuals injured by acts of medical malpractice for 115 years. Call today!

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