What’s the Deadline to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

November 30th, 2021

Those who suffered from an injury caused by negligence can seek compensation through a personal injury claim. These claims help victims pay for pain and suffering,  medical bills and missed time at work due to injuries caused by car accidents, asbestos exposure, and many more. However, victims have a limited time period to pursue a personal injury lawsuit due to the statute of limitations, which determines how long one has to file a legal claim. Here is a look at the statute of limitations for personal injury in Pennsylvania, as well as the several exceptions that can alter the duration if certain circumstances are met.

Pennsylvania’s Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases

The statute of limitations for a personal injury lawsuit can vary depending on the state the defendant lives. According to 42 Pa. Con. Stat. Ann. section 5524, individuals have up to two years to pursue a case. For example, if one were to get in a car accident on the fifth of November, they would have until the fifth of November two years later to file for a personal injury case. If they fail to file a claim by the time that two-year window closes, then the court is unlikely to hear their case no matter how strong it is.

Discovery of the Injury Determines the Statute

Pennsylvania has a discovery rule for a personal injury case’s statute of limitations, meaning the date the victim first learned of the injury is when the two-year period starts. It is possible for symptoms of an injury to take months or even years to arise, such as an ailment caused by the environment of a leased building or medical malpractice incident. Consult with an attorney to learn the exact date of discovery.

A Government Body Can Influence the Statute

If a government body is the party responsible for incurring an injury, then the time frame the victim can pursue the personal injury lawsuit is shortened. Victims will have six months to fill out and submit the proper intent to sue paperwork, including pertinent details such as:

  • Their name and address
  • Where they were injured
  • The date and time their injury occurred
  • The name and current address of the party they are making their claim against
  • Their doctor’s name and business address

Though the submission for the case may be shorter than other personal injury lawsuits, the two-year statute of limitations remains in effect.

The Victim’s Age Can Alter the Statute

One salient detail that can influence the case’s statute of limitations is if the victim is an unemancipated minor. As the courts hold minors as legally incompetent, the two-year window begins on the day they turn 18 years old. Therefore, the end date of the limitations will be on their 20th birthday. However, those wishing to pursue a personal injury lawsuit pertaining to childhood sexual abuse have 12 years from the date of their 18th birthday.

If you’re searching for one of the best personal injury lawyers in Bucks County or need the services of a criminal defense lawyer, reach out to Stolee & Associates today for professional legal advice and assistance!