Check out 'The Soloff & Zervanos Show' Podcast on WWDB Talk 860 - Click Here!

How Do I File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Pennsylvania?

Posted in Medical Malpractice on Friday, March 29, 2024.

Suffering any kind of injury or illness because of negligence by a healthcare provider can be immensely stressful, and so too can the idea of taking formal legal action over it. Even if you have pursued a personal injury claim in the past, filing suit over medical malpractice is different, and you will need to prepare for many unique rules and restrictions.

Fortunately, you have help from a knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer who has helped people through situations like yours in the past. Here is a brief overview of what you will need to do in order to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Pennsylvania, as well as how capable legal counsel could help throughout the process.

Preparing for a Possible Lawsuit

When it comes to filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, what you do before formally starting the legal process is almost as important as what you do during it. Prior to drafting a complaint, you should make sure to get copies of all your medical records or sign a release allowing your legal representation to request copies on your behalf.

You should also speak with the facility that the negligent healthcare provider works for and potentially the provider themself, in order to get more information and potentially discuss alternatives to litigation. It may be worthwhile to file a complaint with the state Board of Medicine, which may be able to provide additional information and resources pending their own investigation into the matter.

Meeting the Certificate of Merit Requirement

Another thing you will need to do before filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Pennsylvania is seek support from a qualified medical expert. More specifically, 231 Pennsylvania Code § 1042.3 requires you to get a signed certificate of merit from a medical professional with licensing and experience in the same area of medicine as your proposed defendants.

By signing this certificate, the medical expert is stating under oath that they have reviewed all available evidence and believe, based on that evidence, it is reasonably likely you were injured as a direct result of a breach of the standard of care by the doctor. You must submit this certificate of merit either alongside your initial civil complaint or no later than 60 days after submitting the complaint to the court.

Filing Within the Statute of Limitations

You do not have unlimited time after getting hurt or sick due to medical negligence to file suit against the negligent physician who caused you harm. Under 42 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes § 5524, you generally have two years after discovering you were harmed through malpractice to do everything mentioned above and formally submit a complaint to the court.

There used to be a statute of repose in addition to this statute of limitations that prevented people from filing a malpractice claim more than seven years after an alleged act of malpractice actually occurred. However, the state Supreme Court struck this rule down as unconstitutional in 2019.

A seasoned medical malpractice lawyer can offer crucial guidance and support through this filing process. Call today to learn more.