What is a Statute of Limitation?How long you have to bring up a civil action can vary greatly. Find out more.
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When a patient enters the care of a physician, the patient has a reasonable expectation that the physician will be competent. Also, it would not be out of the question to assume that the care provided is adequate and properly administered. In short, the patient has a reasonable expectation to assume the care provided will be proper care. In most instances, this is exactly what patients receive. However, there are also those instances where the care provided falls grossly short of what is considered proper. If this is the case then the patient may be a victim of medical malpractice.
Depending upon the severity of the malpractice, a patient may be able to be awarded significant damages in a court of law. However, it is important to understand that no matter how serious a case of medical malpractice may be, legal proceedings surrounding such cases will always been restricted to a statute of limitations. This is why it is important to understand the exact definition of medical malpractice and what is its statute of limitations within the state of Pennsylvania.
In terms of what is medical malpractice, medical malpractice is defined as negligence on the part of the health care provider. This negligence can be either deliberate or the result of an oversight. For example, if a doctor does not perform a blood test properly or neglects to perform a blood test at all and this lead to a serious condition being overlooked, this would be a clear case of medical malpractice. Of course, there are many different types of scenarios that would yield medical malpractice. The common thread, however, is the presence of negligence and improper performance of one's duty.
In the state of Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations on a medical malpractice case is two years within the "Discovery Rule". That is, the starting date of the Pennsylvania statute of limitations is not enacted until the plaintiff knows he/she has been injured by negligence or, at the very least, should have had reason to know. There is one common exception to this rule and it involves minors. Specifically, if a minor is injured in a case of medical malpractice, the clock on the statute of limitations does not start until the minor is 18 years old. However, this does not mean that one can wait "forever" to file a lawsuit if a minor has been injured via medical malpractice. Filing the case expediently would always be the better course of action to take.
There may be other circumstances where the statute of limitations may be set aside, but such instances are extremely rare. As such, it is critical to bring forth civil action as soon as possible or else all claims to damages will be lost.