What’s the Statute of Limitations on a Personal Injury Claim in Pennsylvania?
After being injured because of another person’s negligence in Pennsylvania, you will not have an unlimited period of time to sue. In fact, you will only have two years to bring a compensation case for personal injury.
In general, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Pennsylvania is just two years. That said, there are additional deadlines victims of certain accidents, like workplace accidents or accidents involving government entities, need to be aware of. Furthermore, while there are a few exceptions to the deadline, victims should not rely on them as there is no guarantee they will apply to each case. To ensure you bring your case before time is up, take the necessary steps, like calling the police, going to the hospital, and allowing our attorneys to investigate your case and uncover evidence of negligence. Once you have a solid case, you can file. If fail to do so quickly enough, you will be barred from recovery for your injuries in Pennsylvania.
To have our Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers evaluate your case for free, call The Reiff Law Firm now at (215) 709-6940.
Pennsylvania’s Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims
The statute of limitations is the period of time during which victims can bring a claim for personal injury. This deadline tends to be the same across the board, whether you have been hurt in a slip and fall or a car accident in Pennsylvania.
According to 42 Pa.C.S. § 5524(2), Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years. This applies to most accidents caused by negligence, excluding those involving a government entity or employee.
While there are various reasons why victims might sue for injury in Pennsylvania, motor vehicle accidents tend to be at the top of that list. While victims will have two years to sue for car accident injuries in Pennsylvania, they must first confirm the type of car insurance they have. If you have full tort coverage, you can sue for pain and suffering without meeting additional criteria. If you have limited tort coverage, you can only sue for non-economic damages if your injuries meet the serious injury threshold.
The filing deadline for wrongful death lawsuits is also two years from the day of the victim’s death in Pennsylvania. In the event that the victim’s personal representative does not file a wrongful death lawsuit within six months, certain survivors may be able to file a claim against the responsible party.
Other Filing Deadlines for Personal Injury Cases in Pennsylvania
Although the deadline to file an injury claim is relatively the same from case to case, there are certain instances where the timeframe to file gets a bit fuzzy. This is especially common in cases against the government and workplace accident claims.
Let’s start by discussing the filing period for bus accident claims in Pennsylvania. If you were injured by a SEPTA bus, for example, you will have to submit a notice of a claim within six months of the accident occurring. The time to file train accident claims involving SEPTA or another similar government-created entity would be the same. If you do not file the necessary notice of your claim, your case might be thrown out, even if it was filed in court within two years of the accident.
Victims of certain workplace accidents must be aware of various filing deadlines as well. Suppose you were hurt while working on a construction site in Pennsylvania. In that case, you will only have 120 days from the date of a workplace accident to inform your employer of your injuries. While victims will have two years to bring construction injury lawsuits against third parties, failing to report their injuries to an employer can hurt their chances of recovery.
Being aware of additional reporting and filing deadlines when it comes to personal injury claims is important, as the standard two-year suing filing time limit is not the be-all-end-all for all personal injury lawsuits, especially when they involve government agencies or workplace accidents.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases in Pennsylvania
There are a few exceptions to the total time victims have to bring personal injury claims in Pennsylvania. That said, you should never assume these exceptions apply to your situation.
The most common exceptions to time limitations on filing injury claims are tolling for delayed discovery and minor victims. For example, suppose your minor child was hurt at a store because it failed to address a spill on the floor. In that case, the filing deadline for the slip and fall case would be tolled until they turned 18. That would give your minor child until age 20 to sue the store responsible for their injuries.
Delayed discovery can sometimes give injury victims longer to sue in Pennsylvania. Though only applied in specific situations, the deadline can be tolled for any period of time a victim was unaware of their injuries following an accident in Pennsylvania.
Returning to the same example above, suppose it was you and not your child who was hurt in a store or on another person’s property. Then, suppose your injuries did not appear until several weeks after the initial incident took place. In that case, tolling might apply to your case, pushing back the final filing date for a premises liability case in Pennsylvania. Instead of having two years from date of the accident to sue, you would have two years from the date you discovered your injuries to bring a lawsuit in Pennsylvania.
How to Bring Your Personal Injury Claim within the Filing Period in Pennsylvania
Filing your injury claim within the allotted time period requires you to act with intention and haste following an accident in Pennsylvania. Begin preparing your case right away by calling the police, going to the hospital, and collecting evidence.
Begin by contacting our lawyers. When you do this immediately, we can start investigating your claim more quickly and obtain certain evidence that is at risk of being destroyed or lost as time passes. For example, security camera footage might get deleted, or eyewitnesses’ recollections might fade.
Be sure to report your accident to the necessary individuals or law enforcement agencies and get treated for your injuries by qualified medical professionals.
Once you have decided to sue for personal injury, you must to file the necessary paperwork with the court. In your initial claim petition, our Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers will name the defendant, outline the facts of the case, and request certain compensation for your injuries. We can then assist in negotiations with the opposing side and help you bring your case to court to recover compensatory damages in Pennsylvania.
Reasons to Bring a Claim for Personal Injury by the Deadline in Pennsylvania
There is one main reason why knowing the deadline to sue for injury and adhering to it is important. If end up not bringing your claim by the deadline, you will be barred from recovery in Pennsylvania.
While staunchly adhering to the filing guidelines is always important, it is especially so when seeking recovery against a negligent establishment. For example, while the limitation on filing for indoor waterpark claims in Pennsylvania is two years, as it is for most other personal injury claims, a powerful company might attempt to pressure you into accepting a settlement or another agreement to eliminate the possibility of a lawsuit. If you fail to bring your case before the final filing date, you might miss out on crucial damages, such as punitive damages.
While the limitation on filing for cases that might involve more serious injuries, like the time to file a lawsuit for motorcycle accident injuries or the deadline for brain injury cases, is also two years, victims might require compensation sooner than that. Filing your lawsuit as soon as possible after an accident can give you the best chance of recovery. When victims delay bringing personal injury claims, it can appear as though they are not committed to their recovery or that their injuries were unrelated to another party’s negligence.
If victims do not file their cases within two years of an accident occurring, they will be barred from recovery even if they still require compensation. The last date of possible filing is a strict deadline, after which victims will be unable to sue for compensation in Pennsylvania, regardless of their need for compensatory damages.
Call Our Pennsylvania Attorneys About Your Personal Injury Case Today
You can call our Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at (215) 709-6940 to schedule a confidential and free case assessment from The Reiff Law Firm.