What If You Miss the Filing Deadline for Personal Injury Claim in Pennsylvania?
If you miss the filing deadline for a personal injury claim in Pennsylvania, you may lose your right to pursue compensation for your injuries. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is generally two years from the date of the injury or the date that the injury was discovered. There are few exceptions to this rule.
Exceptions to Pennsylvania’s Statute of Limitations
Some of the exceptions to Pennsylvania’s Statute of Limitations include the following:
If the injury is not immediately apparent, the two-year clock may start from the date the injury was discovered or should have been discovered. This is known as the discovery rule. For example, suppose a person is exposed to toxic chemicals that cause cancer. In that case, the statute of limitations may not start running until the person discovers or should have discovered the cancer.
If a case of medical malpractice involves a foreign object left in the body, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the object is discovered.
If the injured person is a minor at the time of the injury, the statute of limitations may be tolled (paused) until the minor reaches the age of 18. Once the minor turns 18, the two-year clock begins to run.
If the injured person is mentally disabled at the time of the injury, the statute of limitations may be tolled until the person is declared competent.
In cases where the defendant (at-fault party) is not a resident of Pennsylvania or has fled the state, the statute of limitations may be extended until they return.
Fraud or Intentional Concealment
If the defendant concealed the wrongdoing, the statute of limitations may be delayed until the victim discovers or should have discovered the fraud or concealment.
It is important to note that these exceptions may not apply in all cases.
Personal Injury Filing Deadlines in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, the filing deadlines for personal injury cases can depend on the specific type of case. For example:
- Personal injury: 2 years from the date of the injury.
- Medical malpractice: 2 years from the date of the injury or discovery of the injury, but no more than 7 years from the date of the injury.
- Product liability: 2 years from the date of the injury or discovery of the injury.
- Wrongful death: 2 years from the date of the deceased’s death.
In claims against a government entity or employee in Pennsylvania, you must provide notice of the claim within six months of the injury. After which, you then have two years to file a lawsuit.
What To Do if the Statute of Limitations has Expired
After the statute of limitations deadline has passed, a personal injury lawsuit will almost always be dismissed, even if your injuries and related losses are significant. The purpose of the time limit is to reduce fraudulent claims and help ensure that evidence remains available. However, if you believe the statute of limitations has expired or is about to, it is still worth having a Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer review your case. They may find that an exception does apply.