5 Reasons a lawyer will NOT take your medical malpractice case in Pennsylvania.

Posted over 4 years ago. Applies to Pennsylvania, 8 helpful votes



Cannot find a doctor that is willing to write a report.

In Pennsylvania, you cannot bring an action for medical malpractice unless you have a physician, actively practicing in the same or similar field, write you a Certificate of Merit, confirming that a medical negligence case exists. If I cannot find a doctor to support the case, I will not take it. You are actually required to file a statement with the court indicating that you have complied with the Certificate of Merit regulations in Pennsylvania.


You are not injured.

Even if the doctor was negligent (i.e. deviated from the acceptable standard of care), and you have a Certificate of Merit, there must also be harm or damage to you. If the doctor failed to prescribe medication, and was negligent, but you were fortunately not injured, we will not accept your medical malpractice case. Medical malpractice cases are expensive to litigate, and we cannot spend time or resources unless the injury is significant enough to justify damages.


The injury was not 'caused' by the medical error.

In addition to 'negligence' and 'harm'; there must also be 'causation'. This means that the negligence had to be the direct and proximate cause of the injury. If your injury was unrelated to the negligence, we will not accept the case. The question to ask is: "Would I have had the same result even without the doctor/hospital negligence?" If the answer is yes, we may not be able to help you.


The statute of limitations has passed.

In Pennsylvania, typically the statute of limitations is 2 years for medical malpractice cases. However, there are exceptions for minors, and that statute may toll (extend) if you did not know about the negligence. If your case is older than 2 years, and you were not a minor, we may not be able to take your case. Time is critical in medical malpractice cases, and the statute of limitations is only one of the reasons why.


You did NOT listen to your doctor,

Even when there is 'negligence', 'causation' and 'harm'; we will decline cases where the patient's own noncompliance greatly contributed to the actual injury. You have to listen to your doctors or any potential medical malpractice case could be in jeopardy. Juries in Pennsylvania often love doctors and dislike lawsuits. If you are non-compliant, the doctor will argue that your actions caused your injury (not the negligence), and it will give the jury another reason to find in favor of the doctor or may limit your recovery significantly.

Additional Resources

www.pghfirm.com (medical malpractice attorneys)

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