If you or a loved one was injured because of another person’s negligence, you have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit for compensation. The Pennsylvania statute of limitations determines how much time you have to file legal action for your injury. You must meet this deadline in order to pursue compensation for the injuries you sustained.
Our experienced Harrisburg personal injury attorneys can review the details of your case during a free consultation. If you cannot come to us, we can come to you. We can explain the deadlines you may be facing.
Call (717) 888-8888 for a free case evaluation.
General Statute of Limitations
The general statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim in Pennsylvania is two years. This time limit applies to claims such as:
- Car accidents
- Slips and falls
- Medical malpractice
- Exposure to a toxic substance
- Other accidents caused by another party’s negligence
The statute of limitations generally starts on the date the negligence occurred, such as the date of the car accident or the date when the medical malpractice transpired. If the case is for the wrongful death of a loved one, the two-year statute of limitations begins on the date of the decedent’s death.
If you fail to file a lawsuit within two years after the injury occurred, you will likely forfeit your right to pursue compensation for your injuries. That is why it is important to get a trusted lawyer on your side as soon as possible.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
If there are unusual circumstances involved, the statute of limitations may be extended in various ways, including the following:
Discovery of Harm Rule
In some situations, a victim may not know immediately that he or she has been injured. The discovery of harm rule delays the statute of limitations until the victim knows or should know that he or she has been hurt.
For example, if a victim did not know that a surgical sponge was left in him or her until a subsequent operation, or until it caused pain or an infection, the statute of limitations may not begin until the victim learned about the sponge.
If the person who was injured was a minor at the time of the accident, the two-year statute of limitations does not start until the victim reaches the age of 18. Therefore, in this situation the victim has until his or her 20th birthday to file a claim.
Another exception to the statute of limitations is if the defendant is out of state. (The defendant is the person who is liable for the accident.) If the defendant moved out of state for four months or more during the general statute of limitations, the time during which the defendant was absent does not count toward the two years.
False Name Used by the Defendant
If the defendant uses a false name to conceal his or her identity while in the state, the statute of limitations does not run during this time period. A seasoned Pennsylvania attorney can help find out whether this has occurred in your case.
Talk to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney to Protect Your Rights
If you have been injured in an accident that was the result of another person’s negligence, it is important to file a lawsuit for compensation before the statute of limitations ends. Due to the complex issues involved in personal injury and wrongful death cases, a significant amount of work may be necessary to prepare a claim.
Every case is different, and a knowledgeable Pennsylvania personal injury attorney from Schmidt Kramer can review your case and notify you of the deadline that would apply in your case. You will want to file your case well in advance of the deadline to allow for enough time for settlement negotiations. We can fight for the compensation you deserve.
We do not charge any upfront fees, and all services are provided on a contingency fee basis. This means you only pay us if we successfully recover compensation for you.