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November 19, 2014

Time Limits for Filing Personal Injury Lawsuits

time limitFollowing a serious accident and injury, a victim’s focus is often on their physical recovery. While making your health a first priority is important, you should also begin thinking about legal recovery as soon as you possibly can. This is because state law imposes a strict statute of limitations [1] on all personal injury claims. A statute of limitations means that once a certain period of time has passed, injured victims will be unable to recover from any negligent or otherwise responsible parties. If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by another person’s negligence, you should not delay in exploring your legal options and risk the statute of limitations expiring.

What is the statute of limitations in PA?

Pennsylvania law [2] sets out the statute of limitation of two years for all personal injury claims. This means you have two years from the date the accident and injuries occurred. Once two years have passed, claims filed will likely be dismissed by the court with no recovery possible.

There are certain exceptions to the two year time limit to address special circumstances. For example, some accident victims are not able to immediately identify injuries that stemmed from the accident. Some injuries, such as soft tissue injuries, concussions, and more, may not begin showing symptoms for some time after an accident. A victim who suffers concussion and is not familiar with traumatic brain injuries [3] may believe that they are confused or have headaches due to other causes unrelated to their accident. For this reason, the law allows the statute of limitations to start from the point of time when you knew or should have known that you suffered injuries from the accident. Additionally, minors who suffer injury have within two years of their 18th birthday to file a personal injury claim arising from an accident that occurred when they were still a minor.

Lawsuits must be filed by the end of the statute of limitations; therefore, because lawsuits take time to prepare, you should never wait until the last minute to consult with a personal injury attorney to discuss a possible case.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statute_of_limitations

[2] http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/42/00.055..HTM

[3] http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/traumatic-brain-injury/basics/definition/con-20029302

 

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