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Statute Of Limitations At Heart Of Wrongful Death Lawsuit

On July 25, 2012, a woman went to the emergency room at Good Samaritan’s Hospital to seek care for serious medical symptoms. These included headaches, shortness of breath, vomiting, diarrhea and back pain. That woman would never walk out of the hospital. Only four hours after she arrived, she was pronounced dead.

The woman’s estate filed a wrongful death lawsuit based on the events of that horrible day. Her death from septic shock was due to the emergency room not taking adequate steps to diagnose and treat the life-threatening condition, notes the lawsuit. Unfortunately, the lawsuit was dismissed by the lower court in the state because the court found that the lawsuit wasn’t handled in a timely manner.

In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations requires that wrongful death claims and medical malpractice complaints are filed within two years of the person’s death. In this case, the lower court found that the filing wasn’t made until Aug. 6, 2014; however, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania found that the lower court was in error and reinstated the lawsuit against Good Samaritan’s Hospital of Lebanon and Lebanon Emergency Physicians.

The issue at hand here is that the attorney for the decedent’s estate did serve the paperwork as required on July 3, 2014. There was an issue with service, but the attorney wasn’t aware of it until he reinstated the complaint in August.

The man’s estate can now continue on with the complaint since the Superior Court found that the attorney did, in fact, handle things in the proper manner. This series of events shows why it is imperative that people who have claims such as these don’t try to wait until the statute of limitations is coming to a close. Issues like this can have a huge impact on the outcome of the case.

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