The Statute of Limitations on Brain Injuries in Pennsylvania
A serious brain injury could cause a person to suffer from a variety of serious symptoms. A brain injury will likely leave you saddled with expensive medical bills and the need to take a significant amount of time away from your job. You should not have to handle all of these burdens because of the negligence of another person. If you or a family member has suffered a severe brain injury, you should speak with an experienced Philadelphia brain injury lawyer. At The Reiff Law Firm, our attorneys will work diligently to have your personal injury case filed before the deadline.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Concussions and Brain Trauma in PA?
The statute of limitations is a law that determines the amount of time that a plaintiff has to file a case against the party that injured them. The statute of limitations deadline will vary depending on the type of case a plaintiff wants to file. The deadline may also change from state to state.
In Pennsylvania, a personal injury lawsuit has a filing deadline of two years from the date the brain injury occurred. If your brain injury was caused by medical malpractice, the filing deadline for your lawsuit would still be two years from the date of the injury. It is important to note that if you fail to file your case before the deadline, the court may bar your claim. However, depending on the circumstances of your case, it may be possible to delay or extend the statute of limitations deadline.
Additionally, the statute of limitations deadline only applies to how long you have to file a particular case. Therefore, once you file your case, how long it takes to adjudicate the case does not count against your time limit.
If you wish to know more about the statute of limitations in Pennsylvania, you should speak with an experienced Montgomery County personal injury lawyer.
How the Statute of Limitation Can Affect Your Case
If you suffered a brain injury in an accident, you should know what type of case you want to file as this may affect your filing date. For example, if you want to file a medical malpractice lawsuit because your doctor caused you to suffer a brain injury, the statute of limitations may differ from another type of case.
In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice or personal injury claim is two years from the date of the injury. If a plaintiff does not succeed in filing their case within the filing deadline, the court may bar their claim. This means the plaintiff will not have an avenue to pursue compensation for their injury.
However, it is important to note that there may be a way for a plaintiff to delay the filing date for their case. One possibility that could allow a plaintiff to delay their filing deadline is if the plaintiff was under the age of majority when they were injured. The statute of limitations would not begin to run until the plaintiff reached the age of 18. Additionally, the plaintiff would still have two years from the date they reached the age of 18 to file their case. However, a parent or legal guardian may be able to file a claim on the minor’s behalf.
Another scenario that could result in a plaintiff having their personal injury lawsuit delayed is being disabled to the point where they cannot pursue their claim. When this happens, the disabled person’s claim will be delayed until or if they recover from their disability.
However, you should not assume that you can delay your case under these circumstances. An experienced Abington personal injury lawyer can help you with any issues regarding your brain injury case.
How to Extend the Statute of Limitations Deadline
If you believe the filing deadline for your brain injury case is quickly approaching or has already passed, you may still have options available to extend your filing deadline.
One possibility to extend the statute of limitations involves being under the age of majority when you suffered the brain injury. When you suffer an injury while you are under the age of 18, the filing deadline’s clock will not begin to run until you turn 18. This means if you suffered a brain injury at the age of 16, the statute of limitations deadline for your case would not begin to run until your 18th birthday. You have an additional two years after you turn 18 to file your case. This method of delaying the statute of limitations is referred to as “infancy.” However, you do not have to wait until you are 18, and your parents can bring a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf if you suffered a brain injury as a minor.
Another method for extending the statute of limitations is Pennsylvania’s discovery rule. The discovery rule states that an individual who is unaware of their injury or does not have a reason to suspect they are injured will not immediately be held to the two-year time limit. The statute of limitations will begin to run once they discover the injury and its cause. For example, if you are in a car accident and suffer a brain injury you do not know about, the statute of limitations will be delayed until you discover the injury. This rule often applies even if you only discover the injury after the standard two-years from the injury.
The statute of limitations may also be delayed if you had a disability when you sustained the brain injury. The statute of limitations will only begin to run again on the date you are cured of your disability.
Despite the possibility of being able to extend your filing deadline, it is better to file your personal injury case as soon as possible. Filing your case early will make it easier for you to gather evidence and prepare for your case. The evidence you need to prove your case will likely be more difficult to discover the longer you wait to file your case. Additionally, waiting too long to file your case also means that you will have to wait for the compensation you may need to cover your expenses if you win the case. You should look to file your personal injury case as soon as possible if you can.
Why the Statute of Limitations is Necessary
If you suffered a serious brain injury, it may seem unfair or odd that you have to pursue an injury lawsuit within a certain amount of time or risk losing compensation for your injury. However, there are multiple reasons why the statute of limitations is necessary for civil cases.
One of the first reasons the statute of limitations is needed is to ensure that a plaintiff is serious about pursuing a legal cause of action. By placing a time limit on a certain type of case, the plaintiff will presumably take all the steps needed to file their claim with the court. By allowing a plaintiff to have several years or an infinite amount of time to file, they could make mistakes that will hurt their case. For example, failing to preserve evidence needed for the case could make it difficult to litigate the case later.
Another reason for the statute of limitations is fairness to the defendant. It is unreasonable to expect a plaintiff to be ready to defend against a lawsuit at any time. The defendant could move to a new state or country or may not even remember they could be held liable in a personal injury case.
The statute of limitations provides benefits for both the plaintiff and the defendant.
Work with Our Injury Attorneys to File Your Brain Injury Case
If you or a family member is concerned about the statute of limitations filing deadline, you should speak with an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney. At The Reiff Law Firm, our attorneys will work to ensure your brain injury case is promptly filed. To schedule a free consultation for your injury case, call us at (215) 709-6940, or reach us online.