How Medical Malpractice Differs

How Medical Malpractice Differs from Other Injury Cases

Medical malpractice filing deadlines may differ considerably from other personal injury cases.  Also, because the level of expertise and resources required in medical malpractice lawsuits are much greater than in other accident and injury cases, many law firms do not handle medical malpractice.  More than 50 years of combined experience in medical malpractice representation allows Dattilo Law Offices, P.C. to help clients obtain fair compensation for malpractice related injuries.

Medical malpractice statute of limitations

A cause of action in an injury case is typically the negligence resulting in injury that allows you to sue for damages.  The date when a cause of action occurs starts the statute of limitations running.  In most injury cases, parties have two years from the date of the cause of action to file a lawsuit against the responsible party.  The following Pennsylvania statutes and case laws apply for filing medical malpractice lawsuits:


  • 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5524 is a two-year limitation from the date of the cause of action, allowing for recovery of damages for injury or death based on neglect
  • According to the discovery rule, arising from Fine v. Checcio, 870 A.2d 850 (Pa. 2005), once the injured party discovers or reasonably should discover the injury, the two-year statute of limitations begins to run (not applicable in death cases)
  • 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5533 extends the statute of limitations for a minor until the individual reaches age 18While the cause of action starts the clock running in a statute of limitations, another type of statute, called a statute of repose, sets a different time limit based on event—in this case the medical procedure (diagnosis, surgery, treatment, etc.), not the claim of injury.  The PA statute of repose limits the discovery rule (for cases after March 20, 2002) to seven years from the date of the medical event.  The only exceptions are for foreign objects left unintentionally in the body (scalpels, sponges, etc.) and minors, who have up until age 20 to file.

    Expert testimony

    The ability to prove medical malpractice also relies on medical professionals’ expert testimony about failure to meet acceptable medical standards.  Using such expert witnesses can result in considerable expense, and law firms must have the wherewithal to cover such costs.

    At Dattilo Law Offices, P.A. we have all necessary resources and offer a free consultation to discuss the prospects of pursuing a medical malpractice case. For Pittsburgh, PA medical malpractice lawyer and attorney call on (412) 391-6300