How long do I have to file a personal injury case?

By Ben Gobel on January 1, 2020


Most people do not realize that in Pennsylvania, you generally only have two years to file a personal injury case.  See 42 Pa. C.S. § 5524(2). This deadline is called the ‘statute of limitations.’ Statutes of limitation vary from state to state and even from one type of case to another. This two-year statute of limitations applies to personal injury claims, motor vehicle accident claims, medical malpractice claims, wrongful death claims, products liability claims, as well as many others.

If your case does not get filed before the expiration of the statute of limitations, it may be barred forever and you may be precluded from obtaining a financial recovery.

Typically, the statute of limitations begins to run on the date of the injury. However, there are exceptions to this rule. One exception is called the ‘discovery rule.’ In limited situations, the discovery rule extends the time for filing a personal injury case. Under this rule, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the plaintiff knew, or should have known, that he or she was injured and that the injury was caused by the conduct of another.

Another exception deals with ‘unemancipated minors.’ An unemancipated minor is a person below the age of 18 who receives at least one-half of his or her support, which could include room and board, from a parent or guardian.  4 Pa. Code § 174.10. An unemancipated minor must file suit within two years of his or her 18th birthday.

Obviously, determining the appropriate statute of limitations for your claim is a complicated, factually specific issue. Because of this, it is important that you discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. If you or a loved one was injured, or if you have questions about a potential lawsuit, call one of our experienced attorneys providing legal counsel for injury cases in Pittsburgh at Ogg, Murphy & Perkosky anytime at (412) 471-8500, or send us a message through this page. The attorneys at Ogg, Murphy & Perkosky have helped countless individuals and their families get the compensation they deserve after an injury. Call us now. We are almost always available and there is never a fee unless we make a financial recovery for you.