How much time do I have to file a medical malpractice case (lawsuit)?
A: The rules that answer this question are called “Statutes of Limitations”. These rules provide that if you don’t file a lawsuit within the time allotted, you can never file a lawsuit. Each state has its own Statutes of Limitations. In addition, you may have a claim pursuant to a law of the United States which may contain its own unique statute of limitations.
In Pennsylvania, a lawsuit to recover damages caused by medical malpractice must be filed within two years. In general, the two year period begins to run on the date the injury was sustained.
There is an exception to the general rule, and it is called the discovery rule, which applies where the existence of an injury is not known to the injured person. In such cases, the two year period begins to run once the injured person has knowledge or through the exercise of reasonable diligence should have knowledge of his/her injury and the cause of his/her injury. However, the injured person does not need to know that his/her injury was caused by wrongful conduct.
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