Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is two years, with exceptions. If you’ve been hurt due to someone else’s negligence and want to collect damages, call the skilled and knowledgeable personal injury lawyers of Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP. We’ll investigate your claim, ensure it’s filed on time, and help you make a strong case that affords you the financial compensation you deserve.
Personal injury claims against another party’s negligence in Pennsylvania have a statute of limitations. In most cases, you have two years from your injury date to file a lawsuit and collect financial compensation. The statute of limitation is less if you’re seeking damages from a government agency, but there are other exceptions in which the law grants more time. This is important because if you fail to file your claim in time, a judge will likely dismiss your case even if it is clear that another person caused your injuries.
If you’ve been injured from an accident stemming from another person’s negligence, contact an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney at Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP, as soon as possible. We’ll ensure that your case meets Pennsylvania’s personal injury statute of limitations and provide a strong, evidence-based argument for compensation.
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Overview of Pennsylvania Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
You generally have two years to file a claim under the Pennsylvania personal injury statute of limitations. This includes claims for most injuries and wrongful deaths due to another party’s negligence. It also applies to claims arising from injuries due to intentional actions such as assaults. The statute of limitations clock starts ticking on the date of your injury.
Attorneys for the other party will try to delay your case, especially if you don’t have a lawyer. They know there is limited time to investigate your case and make a strong claim. To even the odds during negotiations and in court, contact the expert and dedicated Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP, to ensure your claim is filed on time.
Pennsylvania Personal Injury Statute of Limitations by Type of Injury
The default two-year Pennsylvania statute of limitations applies for most personal injuries, such as:
- Slip-and-fall accident
- Car accident
- Wrongful death
- Product liability
- Pedestrian accident
- Commercial truck accident
- Motorcycle accident
- Medical malpractice
However, there are variations based on the type of injury and who your claim is against. In addition, the circumstances of your case may meet an exception under Pennsylvania law, and you may have a shorter time limit to file a claim.
Determining the correct statute of limitations for your case could significantly affect your ability to collect damages. The personal injury lawyers of Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP, will thoroughly review your case and advise on your legal options.
Factors That Affect the Statute of Limitations
In some cases, the Pennsylvania personal injury statute of limitations clock doesn’t firmly start running on the date of your injury. Instead, it begins when it becomes “reasonably possible” for you to know about your injury, otherwise called the Discovery Rule.
The rule applies in cases such as finding out years later that doctors misdiagnosed you and that misdiagnosis caused you harm. Rather than starting on the date of the medical procedure or misdiagnosis, the statute of limitations begins when you learn about the harm done.
The statute of limitations deadline is shortened if you make your personal injury claim against a government entity. You have six months to notify the government through a written statement that you intend to collect damages. If you hurt yourself in a slip-and-fall or other accident on government property, the lawyers at Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP, can help you guide you about when and how to file your claim notice.
What are the consequences of missing the statute of limitations deadline?
Unless your case merits an exception to the two-year Pennsylvania personal injury statute of limitations, you cannot collect damages if you file after that limit expires. Therefore, you will not be awarded a financial judgment even if you have significant injuries due to someone else’s negligence.
You also lose your leverage when it comes to settlement negotiations. If the other party’s lawyers know you are outside the statute or near the end, they have no reason to offer you damages. Conversely, if you have a solid case, they are more likely to offer you a reasonable settlement and avoid a trial when there is lots of time left on the clock. Contact our Philadelphia personal injury lawyers immediately following the incident that led to your injuries so we can start working on your case.
Exceptions to the Pennsylvania Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
Pennsylvania law recognizes some instances in which the statute of limitations is tolled, meaning it doesn’t start at the date of the injury, even if you knew it occurred.
The Pennsylvania personal injury statute of limitations for unemancipated minors doesn’t start until their 18th birthday. They then have the same two-year statute of limitations as other personal injury claims.
For damages pertaining to sexual abuse, minors have 37 years following their 18th birthday to make a civil claim, regardless of whether they or someone else also filed a criminal complaint.
Absence or Concealment
Pennsylvania law protects you if the other party tries to avoid your claims. For example, if you are injured, and the person leaves the state for more than four months before you can file your claim, the time they were gone does not count against the statute of limitations. This also applies if someone tries to avoid you by staying in the state but hides using a false name.
Determining When the Statute of Limitations Begins and Ends
For the majority of personal injury claims, the statute of limitations starts on the date of the incident that led to your injury and ends two years later. In most cases, you’re aware you were injured, and there is little chance that the courts will extend the time. There are some claims in which it is more common for the clock to start ticking on a date different than the time of injury.
Determining the beginning and end of the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is trickier. Because of the Discovery Rule, your time to file a claim starts when you reasonably should have known that your injury occurred. The burden will be on you to prove that you didn’t know within the regular two-year statute of limitations. The other side will likely argue that you filed outside the limit.
In wrongful death cases, the statute of limitations begins on the date of death, not the date of the injury that led to death. Only the deceased individual’s parents, spouses, and children can file suit.
Contact Meirowitz & Wasserberg Before the Statute of Limitations Runs Out on Your Case
Obtain expert legal representation as soon as possible if you have been injured due to someone else’s actions. A proper investigation takes time, and if you don’t file your claim within the Pennsylvania personal injury statute of limitations, you cannot collect. Contact the personal injury lawyers at Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP, so we can start working with you immediately and fight for the compensation you deserve.