There is limited time to file a personal injury lawsuit after an injury occurs. That is because of Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations.
However, while this deadline applies to many claims, there are other times when the deadline is sooner or later than the standard deadline. Schmidt Kramer’s Harrisburg personal injury attorneys explain the possible exceptions that may apply to the statute of limitations, depending on your situation.
If you have been injured by someone else’s negligence, request a free, no-obligation consultation with our legal team to learn what legal options may exist for pursuing compensation for your injuries.
What the Statute of Limitations Means?
The statute of limitations serves as a time limit for legal claims. If you want to file a personal injury lawsuit against a party that harmed you, you must do so within this time limit, or else you are likely to forfeit your ability to pursue compensation in court.
In most cases, Pennsylvania victims have a two-year statute of limitations in which to file a claim. Typically, the statute of limitations begins on the date the injury occurred.
The two-year statute of limitations is applicable to most Pennsylvania personal injury claims, but there are certain circumstances that may shorten or extend the amount of time in which victims can file a claim.
Some injuries are not immediately apparent when they occur. It may take some time for symptoms to arise or for a victim to find out that the defendant’s actions led to the injury.
Under the discovery rule, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the victim should have reasonably discovered the injury. This means that once you know of, or should have been made aware of the injury, the two-year time clock will start to run.
Filing a Claim Against the Government
If your personal injury claim is against a government entity, there is a different process that must be followed. You must notify the government entity that you intend to file a claim within six months of the injury date.
You must file a “Notice of Claim” letter which includes:
- Name and address of the victim
- Date, hour and location the incident occurred
- Name and personal or office address of any attending doctor
- Name and address of the party the claim is against
The two-year statute of limitations still applies to these cases, and it starts to run on the date of the injury.
Claims Filed by Minors
If the victim is a minor, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the victim’s 18th birthday. However, this rule does not apply to personal injury claims made against a government entity.
For claims involving childhood sexual abuse, the statute of limitations is 12 years from the date of the victim’s 18th birthday.
Fraud, Deception or Concealment
If the plaintiff deceived you into believing he or she did not cause your injury or lied about his or her identity to avoid legal action, the statute of limitations may be tolled. You would need to show this was a clear case of fraud, deception or concealment.
Claims Over Construction Projects
If your personal injury claim involves deficient performance, design, planning or supervision of a construction project, there is typically a 12-year statute of limitations that starts on the date the construction project was completed.
Contact Our Trusted Attorneys for Legal Help
If you were injured due to someone else’s negligence and want to pursue compensation, you need to make sure to file your claim by the appropriate statute of limitations.
Schmidt Kramer’s attorneys are available to determine the deadline that may apply to your claim. If you hire us, we can handle legal filings for you to help ensure your claim is filed before the statute of limitations expires.