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April 23rd, 2012

Failure to Diagnose – How Much Time Do You Have to File a Lawsuit?

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Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis cases are sometimes the most gut wrenching and heartbreaking cases. It’s particularly difficult when a mother or father comes to my office to talk about a case for their child, especially when a doctor’s negligence led to the injury or death.

The medical profession is by no means free from error. This includes doctors, specialists, hospitals, ER staff, nurses, etc. No one is infallible.

The Statute of Limitations in a Pennsylvania Failure to Diagnose Malpractice Lawsuit

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A. Statute of Limitations for Adults

As a general rule, the statute of limitations for individuals who experienced medical malpractice when as an adult is two years from the date of the incident. However, in many failure to diagnose, negligent diagnosis or misdiagnosis cases, the statute of limitations is often at issue. In these situations, the patient or family might not discover the negligence until after the two year period has expired.

However, Pennsylvania’s discovery rule, if applicable, may allow the plaintiff to file suit after the two year period. Under Pennsylvania law, in failure to diagnose cases, the discovery rule may toll or stall the statute of limitations until the proper diagnosis is made. In other words, the injured plaintiff’s statute begins ticking when he or she knew or should have known of the doctor/specialist’s negligence in diagnosis. In these cases, the plaintiff’s inability to discover the medical misdiagnosis must be reasonable.

B. Statute of Limitations for Minors

Minors who have suffered due to medical misdiagnosis in Pennsylvania have the benefit of a longer statute of limitations. Generally, under Pennsylvania law, minors may file medical malpractice lawsuits up until their 20th birthday, or two years after they reach adulthood (18 years of age). However, it is not usually recommended to wait long periods of time to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in PA. Instead, it is important to file a case as quickly as possible, in order to preserve evidence. Parents of minors who have experienced medical malpractice should speak to a medical negligence lawyer as soon as possible.

Related Article: Pennsylvania’s Statute of Limitations in Misdiagnosis or Failure to Diagnose Cases

To submit your case for review by our Pennsylvania and New Jersey medical misdiagnosis lawyers, call (866) 641-0806. Our lawyers are available for a free, no obligation legal consultation, and can obtain special admission in other states, such as New York or Delaware, on a case by case basis.

**This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is crucial to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.

Last updated: December 4, 2014