Can I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit at Any Time After the Accident in Pennsylvania?If you have suffered an injury in Pennsylvania, you may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit. Types of injuries covered by a personal injury lawsuit include those arising from a car accident, a dog bite, a dangerous drug or product, unsafe conditions at someone's premises, or those arising from medical malpractice. If you have been injured in any way by someone else, either intentionally or through negligence, you may be entitled to file such a case. However, you must file your case within the Pennsylvania statute of limitations for your particular type of case.
What is a Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a rule that establishes a time limit in which to file a case. A statute of limitations exists to protect a defendant who needs to be able to move on with life without fearing he will be sued for something that happened many years ago. In addition, after several years have passed, evidence may be lost and witness recollections may be hazy, making it hard for either plaintiff or defendant to prove their case.
What is the Statute of Limitations in Pennsylvania for Filing a Personal Injury Claim?
The statute of limitations, or the time limit in which you must file your case in Pennsylvania, varies depending on the nature of your injuries and the type of case:
- Medical Malpractice Cases
Medical malpractice cases must be brought within two years. However, this is not two years from the time the injury occurred.
This two year statute of limitations begins running from the time when you actually discover (or should have discovered) that you have been injured. However, you are limited to a total of 7 years after the incident to discover your injury and file your claim (except for foreign objects unintentionally left in a patient during surgery.
If the malpractice resulted in death, you have two years from the death. The discovery rule does not apply in wrongful death cases.
- General Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases
In general, for any other type of personal injury, you must file the lawsuit within two years of the date of the injury or the date of death. This rule, however, does not apply to unemancipated minors who must file within two years of reaching their 18th birthday.
If you have been the victim of an injury in Pennsylvania, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you to understand the statute of limitations that applies in your situation, and can also help you to build evidence and file your case within that time period to protect your right to recovery.
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