If you’ve been injured in an accident, it is important to talk to an attorney as quickly as you can. Your case is likely subject to certain deadlines, known as “statutes of limitations.” These rules block cases that are filed too late from making their way into court. If you wait too long to talk to an attorney about filing your case, there may not be enough time to get your case together and file it before the deadline to file arrives. The Philadelphia slip and fall lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm can explain what you need to know about getting your slip and fall case filed on time in Pennsylvania. For a free consultation on your case, contact our law offices today.
What is the Deadline to File a Slip and Fall Case in PA?
Slip and fall cases are part of a broad field of law known as “personal injury.” Personal injury deals with injuries to your body rather than what many PA statutes refer to as “injury” to “personal property.” While many personal injury cases involve property damage as well, the focus of these cases should always be the physical injuries you suffered. Even if you fell and shattered your cell phone, our lawyers and the courts are more concerned with potential injuries to your body. Injuries from a slip and fall accident are a common form of personal injury.
These injuries may be very serious, and it is important to treat them as such. This means seeking immediate medical care when possible and filing a personal injury case as soon as you can. Waiting too long to file your personal injury case makes it appear as though the injuries were not that bad, and you had no problem waiting to address them in court. Filing as soon as possible helps show that these injuries are indeed severe, and that you need compensation now.
The deadline to file your case is always based on when the injuries occurred. In Pennsylvania, the “statute of limitations” under 42 Pa.C.S. § 5524(2) states that all personal injury cases must be filed within 2 years. For a slip and fall, trip and fall, or other similar injury, the clock begins to run on the date of the accident. From there, you have 2 years to have your attorney draft any necessary complaints and other documents and file them with the court.
What Happens if I File a Slip and Fall Case Too Late in Philadelphia?
If you miss this 2-year deadline, your case may be blocked entirely. The party you accuse of being responsible for the slip and fall – known as the “defendant” – may raise the statute of limitations as a complete defense to their case. This means that even if they allowed ice or snow to accumulate on their sidewalk for weeks, and you slipped on it, the law cannot hold them liable for your injuries if you file your case after the deadline. The defendant and their attorney will point to the statute of limitations, and your case may be blocked from court.
There are a few exceptions that may allow a case that was filed too late to continue, despite the statute of limitations. The first is known as “fraudulent concealment.” If the cause of your injury was negligence, but the defendant lied and kept that information from you, the deadline may be extended because of their bad actions. Unfortunately, this type of scenario does not typically occur in a slip and fall case. Since you know you were injured by slipping on someone else’s property immediately as the fall occurs, it is difficult to claim these kinds of extensions.
Alternatively, you may be entitled to an extension based on “infancy.” If you were under 18 years old when the injury occurred, the 2-year clock will not begin to run until you turn 18. This means that you can legally wait until you are an adult who better understands your legal options and consequences before filing for a childhood slip and fall case.
These extensions are never guaranteed on any case. Because of this, it is vital that you take your slip and fall case to a lawyer as early as you can to avoid running afoul of the deadlines to file.
Philadelphia Slip and Fall Lawyers
If you or a loved one suffered head trauma, back injuries, or another catastrophic injury in a slip and fall accident, talk to an attorney right away. These deadlines listed above are for informational purposes only, and you must speak with an attorney as soon as possible to understand the specific deadlines in your case. For a free consolation on your slip and fall case, contact the Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm today at (215) 246-9000.