Understanding the law
Getting injured in an accident can be traumatizing and envelope all of your resources as you recover and grieve the severity of the situation. Unfortunately, one of the key elements in dealing with an undue injury that’s been inflicted on you is the time limit to sue. In Pennsylvania, there are time limits, known as statutes of limitations, for filing a personal injury lawsuit. Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations is a deadline by which a lawsuit must be filed, or the right to sue is lost forever. These deadlines vary depending on the type of claim and the circumstances of the injury,
Personal injury timeframe
For personal injury claims in Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations is generally two years from the date of the injury. This means that if you are injured in an accident on January 1, 2023, you must file your lawsuit by January 1, 2025. Otherwise, you will likely lose your right to seek compensation for your injuries.
Types of injuries include:
- Personal injury: two years from the date of the injury. This includes cases such as slip and fall accidents, car accidents, and medical malpractice.
- Wrongful death: two years from the date of death. This applies to cases where someone died as a result of someone else’s negligence. Examples include a car accident or medical malpractice.
- Medical malpractice: two years from the date of injury or two years from the date the injury was discovered, but no more than seven years from the date of the injury. This means that if a person didn’t discover their injury until after it happened, they have two years from the date of discovery to file a lawsuit.
- Product liability: two years from the date of injury. This applies to cases where someone was injured by a defective product.
However, there are a few exceptions to this general rule. For example, if the injured person is a minor (under the age of 18), the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the minor turns 18. This means that if a child is injured in an accident on January 1, 2023, and turns 18 on January 1, 2041, they will have until January 1, 2043, to file a lawsuit.
Discover Rule exception
Another exception to the two-year statute of limitations is known as the “discovery rule.” Under this rule, the statute of limitations may be extended if the injured person did not discover, or could not reasonably have discovered, the injury until some time after the accident. For example, suppose a person is exposed to a toxic substance that causes cancer. It’s possible the cancer does not manifest until several years later. The statute of limitations may be extended to allow the injured person to file a lawsuit. Even if an exception to the statute applies, it is still important to file a lawsuit quickly. Delaying filing can make it more difficult to gather evidence, locate witnesses, and prepare a strong case.
Consult an attorney
In addition, it is always a good idea to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney like Amil Minora Law as soon as possible after an injury. An attorney can help determine the applicable statute of limitations, gather evidence, and file a lawsuit on your behalf if necessary. They can also negotiate with insurance companies and advocate for your rights. An attorney ensures you receive fair compensation for your injuries.
Knowing the applicable statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is important. In most cases, the deadline is two years from the date of the injury. But there are exceptions for minors and the discovery of injuries. Over time, evidence is lost, memories fade, and people want to move on with their lives. This is why Pennyslvania’s statute of limitations exists.
The time restrictions set forth by law are intended to create fairness and practicality. This is so that legal actions do not drag on indefinitely. When you have suffered a personal injury, it’s important not to delay taking action. You could lose your legal rights if you wait too long to file a claim. Ensure your rights are protected and you receive the compensation you deserve. Consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your injury.