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Discover the Discovery Rule of Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice

Far too frequently, doctors, surgeons, and medical professionals alike give incorrect, misleading, or negligent diagnoses. At times, these professionals can even completely overlook serious, and possibly deadly, conditions and afflictions. Despite these mishandlings, most victims fail to hold the individual responsible for the malpractice accountable.

Some of the common reasons for malpractice are: a given physician did not have the knowledge or ability needed to properly diagnose the victim, a radiologist may have misinterpreted an x-ray or mammogram, a given physician may have failed to order proper testing that’s necessary in the diagnostic process, a given medical expert may have failed to properly refer a patient to the necessary physician, a specialist may have failed to take the proper sample needed for testing, a laboratory or office may have failed to handle a sample properly, the proper testing may have never been ordered, etc.

Many times, victims can’t or don’t discover the malpractice, until it’s too late. Under Pennsylvania law, there is a two-year statute of limitations regarding legal implications for these mistakes. However, under Pennsylvania’s lesser-known “Discovery Rule”, the statute of limitations can be altered or reconsidered.

Not to be confused with the Rules of Discovery, which govern how adverse parties attain information from each other in a lawsuit, the Discovery Rule in Pennsylvania gives a second chance to someone who may be barred by the standard statute of limitations. The Pennsylvania Statute of Limitations states that a claim for an injury must be filed within two years of the injury.

With the Discovery Rule, “failure to diagnose” cases can scramble the statute of limitations and reconsider the timeline in which a victim would have to act. The Discovery Rule states that the two-year timeline to act begins after the proper diagnosis is given or discovered, but does not state that a victim must be aware of malpractice or misdiagnosis for that timetable to begin.

A great example of this is a 1990 PA Superior Court ruling (MacCain v. Montgomery Hospital), in which the court ruled in favor of the hospital. The plaintiff received a mammogram in 1983, which was determined to be clean of cancer. A year later, in 1984, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The court ruled that she could not sue in 1990 for malpractice, because she should have been aware of the 1983 misdiagnosis when she was properly diagnosed in 1984. These cases can be extremely complicated and often upsetting. The results of the aforementioned case and those like it seem unfair and are hard to swallow, which is why it’s absolutely necessary to consult legal experts at the slightest hint of medical malpractice. The act of medical malpractice can evoke an onslaught of distracting emotions, and should always be handled by expert medical malpractice attorneys.

Not every misdiagnosis or oversight will turn into a case. Issues like these tend to be complex; therefore, it is always better to find out if yours qualifies as soon as possible, rather than wait and risk having your case barred by the statute of limitations. To do so, simply find a law firm that is ready and willing to evaluate your claim.

If you, a family member, or someone you love, suspects they have been a victim of medical malpractice, it is never too soon to act, but far too often it is too late. Upon the first suspicion of malpractice, have you or your loved one contact the skilled attorneys at O’Connor Law. We promise to fight hard for justice against negligence, and to deliver the results you and your beloved deserve. Don’t settle for mistakes or oblivion; contact O’Connor Law and get the outcome you’re entitled to. Call 800-518-4529 (800-518-4LAW) or visit to get more information and to set up your free, obligation-free consultation today.

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