How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in Pennsylvania?

By Ben Gobel on November 6, 2023

Attorney Watch

If you got injured due to someone else’s negligence in Pittsburgh, you have the right to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the liable party. However, you need to initiate legal action within a limited amount of time. This is known as the statute of limitations. There are also other benefits of taking prompt legal action. Continue reading to learn more about how long you have to file a personal injury claim in Pennsylvania and what resources can help you navigate the legal proceedings.

The Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims

The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Pennsylvania is two years from the date of the incident that caused the injury. This means if you need to take legal action, such as filing a claim, you need to do that before the two-year deadline. If this date is missed, you will no longer be able to file a claim or a lawsuit unless your case qualifies for an exception. If the personal injury claim is against a government entity, then the statute of limitations could be less.

Understanding the Two-Year Deadline

The limitation period for a personal injury claim starts on the date you got injured. You have a two-year deadline to file a claim; however, it is vital to also consider the date of knowledge of the injury. In most cases, the date of knowledge will be the same date of the accident. For example, if you got into a car accident that resulted in a broken bone, then the statute of limitations starts from that date. However, if you suffered a latent injury that had no symptoms, such as internal organ damage, then the statute of limitations will start when you learn about the injury.

Special Considerations and Exceptions

Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations is strictly enforced but there are a few exceptions. In cases where the victim has been incapacitated, the statute of limitations can be extended until the victim recovers from the incapacitation. The deadline can also be extended for cases where the victim is a minor. The deadline can be extended to two years after the minor turns 18. The circumstances can vary from case to case, so it is best to consult a personal injury attorney.

The Role of Legal Representation

The advice of an attorney is crucial in figuring out the ideal timing for filing a personal injury claim. Injury lawyers are well-versed in personal injury law and can guide you on your legal journey as a victim of an injury caused by someone else. Legal representation for a personal injury claim can help you prepare for different strategies, such as settling the case out of court or taking the case to trial. The lawyer can use their network and resources to help you gather evidence. They can also handle communication and settlement negotiations with insurance companies.

The Importance of Taking Prompt Action

There are several reasons why timely action is beneficial for the claimant. However, before we explore the benefits, let us understand the objective of personal injury case deadlines. A deadline to initiate legal action helps the plaintiff and the defendant. Both parties get an opportunity to use evidence that is fresh and accessible to build their cases. The claimant doesn’t have to wait to seek compensation for their suffering and the defendant doesn’t have to live indefinitely with the prospect of legal action against them. They can have the peace of mind that if a certain time frame has passed, they will not be asked to defend themselves.

Timely action for a personal injury case offers both parties precious time to think about their legal strategy and gather evidence like medical records, police reports, surveillance footage, witness statements, and expert testimony. In some cases, the involved parties are not sure what evidence they need until they consult with their attorney. Getting too close to the statute of limitations deadline can be risky as any minor delay can cause you to miss the deadline, and your case could get dismissed.

There are some cases where you might want to wait, such as cases where there are severe injuries. The victim should wait until they have reached maximum medical recovery to have a better understanding of how much compensation they should seek for their damages. To learn more about the personal injury claims process, you should get in touch with an experienced attorney focusing on personal injuries, Pittsburgh.