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Pennsylvania Medical Liability/Malpractice Statutes of Limitation
All states have set deadlines for when a patient may file a civil claim, known as statutes of limitation, for medical liability and malpractice claims. The majority of the states have special provisions regarding the time limits for minors to file medical liability and malpractice claims. Twenty-two states have special provisions regarding foreign objects.
Pa. Stat. tit. 40, §1303.513 No cause of action asserting a medical professional liability claim may be commenced after seven years from the date of the alleged tort or breach of contract. Foreign object: no time limitation. Minors: No cause of action may be commenced by or on behalf of a minor after seven years from the date of the alleged tort or breach of contract or after the minor attains the age of 20 years, whichever is later.
Pennsylvania Medical Liability/Medical Malpractice Laws
Damage Award Limit or Cap
No limitations. Pennsylvania Constitution Article 3, §18: The General Assembly may enact laws requiring the payment by employers, or employers and employees jointly, of reasonable compensation for injuries to employees arising in the course of their employment, and for occupational diseases of employees, whether or not such injuries or diseases result in death, and regardless of fault of employer or employee, and fixing the basis of ascertainment of such compensation and the maximum and minimum limits thereof, and providing special or general remedies for the collection thereof; but in no other cases shall the General Assembly limit the amount to be recovered for injuries resulting in death, or for injuries to persons or property, and in case of death from such injuries, the right of action shall survive, and the General Assembly shall prescribe for whose benefit such actions shall be prosecuted.
40 §1303.505. Except in cases alleging intentional misconduct, punitive damages against an individual physician shall not exceed 200 percent of the compensatory damages awarded. Punitive damages, when awarded, shall not be less than $100,000 unless a lower verdict amount is returned by the trier of fact. Upon the entry of a verdict including an award of punitive damages, the punitive damages portion of the award shall be allocated as follows: (1) 75 percent shall be paid to the prevailing party; and (2) 25 percent shall be paid to the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund.
40 §1303.509. The trier of fact may incorporate into any future medical expense award adjustments to account for reasonably anticipated inflation and medical care improvements as presented by competent evidence.
Limits on Attorney Fees
Limits declared unconstitutional by state Supreme Court (see Heller v. Frankston, 475 A.2d 1291 (Pa. 1984)).
40 §1303.501 et seq. Future damages for medical and other related expenses shall be paid as periodic payments after payment of the proportionate share of counsel fees and costs based upon the present value of the future damages awarded pursuant to this subsection. Future damages for medical and other related expenses shall not be awarded in periodic payments if the claimant objects and stipulates that the total amount of the future damages for medical and other related expenses, without reduction to present value, does not exceed $100,000.
Patient Compensation or Injury Fund
40 §1303.712. Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund. Money in the fund shall be used to pay claims against participating health care providers for losses or damages awarded in medical professional liability actions against them in excess of the basic insurance coverage required.
Medical or Peer Review Panels
63 §425.1 et seq. Peer review protection