Knowing the statute of limitations for a cause of action or lawsuit you wish to file can mean the difference between recovering for your injuries or being completely barred from recovery. In Pennsylvania, you will be tied to a firm deadline to file your personal injury case based on the statute of limitations. Therefore, if you have been injured at a construction site, it is important to understand that you should consult with a lawyer to file your case immediately. The Pennsylvania construction injury lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm offer free consultations to help you begin working on your construction injury case as soon as possible.
How Much Time Do You have to File a Construction Injury Case?
A statute of limitations is a law which dictates the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations applies to both criminal and civil cases, and construction injuries fall under civil cases. Civil cases are those which do not carry a penalty of prison for losing the case; only monetary judgments and injunctive relief are available in civil court. The timeframe during which a plaintiff can sue is dictated by 42 Pa.C.S. § 5524(2), which gives a 2-year time limit to file any personal injury case. The 2-year timeframe applies not only cases involving accidental injuries due to negligence, but also injuries due to crime or intentional action.
The majority of personal injury cases, like construction injuries or premises liability, are going to operate on a theory of negligence. Negligence is defined as a failure to behave in a manner consistent to how an ordinary prudent person would have behaved under the same circumstances. Triumphing on a theory of negligence is much easier than winning a case based on a theory of intentional actions. You prove negligence by proving the responsible party owed you a duty which they failed to accomplish, and that breach led to your injury. You could approach a case by claiming that the responsible party intentionally harmed you, but your burden of proof is much higher than in a negligence case.
When filing your construction injury case, understand that the rule gives you have 2 years from the date of the accident to get your initial case filed with the court. This does not mean that your entire case must be filed and completely litigated within a span of 2 years, only that the case itself is filed with the court within 2 years. However, waiting till the end of the statute of limitation’s deadline is never a good idea, and you should consult with an experienced lawyer much earlier so that they can completely flesh out your case. Filing your case earlier also means that construction injury accident will be fresh on your mind and that crucial details will not be diminished over time.
If a city, county, or state government agency caused your injury, and you wish to sue that entity, you must file a notice of intent to sue within 6 months of the date of your injury.
What Can I Do if I File My Construction Injury Case Too Late?
If you do not file your construction injury case within the allotted two years, you may never be able to recover for your injuries. If you attempt to file your case anyways regardless of the statute of limitations being over, the person or business you sue may use the statute of limitations to block your case, or the court may outright bar you from filing entirely.
However, there are some methods for extending your deadline. For instance, if you were under 18 when the accident occurred, the statute of limitations may be “tolled.” This means your time to file is extended until you turn 18. This method is also known as “infancy.” You may also claim that you were suffering from any other legal disability when the accident occurred, which may also toll the statute of limitations. However, once the toll period is over, the statute of limitations on your case will begin to run once again.
Common Injuries for Construction Accident Lawsuits
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), in the year 2016, 991 construction workers were killed on the job. Out of those 991 people, 63% were killed by what OSHA calls the “Fatal Four.” This quartet consists of:
- Slip and Falls
- Strikes by Objects
- Workers caught in or crushed by equipment or collapses
OSHA estimates that if the Fatal Four were eliminated, 631 workers’ lives would be saved in the United States each year. A lot of these injuries and fatalities are thought to be primarily caused by negligence, which our personal injury attorneys are more than equipped to handle.
Pennsylvania Construction Injury Attorneys
If you or a loved one was injured at a construction site accident in Philadelphia, or anywhere in Pennsylvania, contact an attorney immediately. Ensuring your case is properly preserved should be a priority so that you can recover the compensation you deserve. The Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm are ready to work with you today. Contact us at (215) 246-9000.