Exceptions to the Pennsylvania Statute of Limitations

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There is a reason why personal injury lawyers tell you to contact them immediately after you have been injured. Your lawyer does not have an unlimited amount of time to work.

Instead, your legal rights have a sunset date that is set by Pennsylvania law. You must always be aware of the statute of limitations in a personal injury case. If you’ve been injured in an accident, don’t wait — learn more about both deadlines and your legal rights. Contact the injury attorneys at Gibbons & Crichton, Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers. We offer free consultations to accident victims.

What Is the Statute of Limitations and Why Does it Exist?

When someone else is responsible for your injury, you have a legal right to financial compensation once you can prove that they were to blame. Your legal rights do not last indefinitely.

Instead, there is an “expiration date” that is set under the state’s law. The statute of limitations is a hard and fast deadline. If you miss it, you will completely miss out on the ability to obtain a settlement check or jury award.

Most laws on Pennsylvania’s books reflect policy choices that lawmakers made at one point in time. While you have legal rights to financial compensation when you can show that someone else was to blame for your injury, the law also aims to be fair to potential defendants.

The law believes that it is unfair for potential litigation to be hanging over a defendant’s head for an indefinite period. When a lawsuit is finally filed, the defendant may not have the necessary insurance coverage or the evidence that they need to present their case in court.

The Personal Injury Statute of Limitations Under Pennsylvania Law

In Pennsylvania, you have two years from the time that you were injured or learned that you were injured to file a lawsuit. The clock begins to run when you should have known that you were hurt, so you must be diligent in determining that you have suffered an injury.

If you have deliberately avoided learning about your condition in the face of obvious symptoms, the statute of limitations may already have begun to run.

You do not always have two years in every single civil case. There are some times when you may have tight deadlines.

For example, when you are suing a governmental entity for an injury in Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations says you only have six months to sue.

If you miss the deadline, you cannot sue, making it crucial for you to contact an attorney immediately after your injury.

Possible Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations in Pennsylvania

Remember that we said that the law makes policy choices. While the statute of limitations may seem like a very firm and unyielding law, some protections are built into it for you.

The law understands that you may not know that you had even been injured at the time of an accident. By the time you learn that you have been injured, your timeframe to file a lawsuit may have elapsed, or you may have lost much of the time already.

In addition, the law is also aware of the fact that some defendants may do whatever they can to defeat you and take away your ability to file a lawsuit. There are times when a defendant may take active steps to thwart your legal case.

For example, the defendant may actively try to avoid the process of being a lawsuit defendant, knowing that you need to serve them to begin the process. They may leave the state to keep you from being able to do just that. Therefore, the statute of limitations may be paused when the defendant has left the state.

Further, the law also takes issue with any active misconduct that the defendant may engage in to keep you from learning of your injuries. The defendant may even go so far as to commit fraud to keep you in the dark and take away your ability to sue.

Pennsylvania personal injury statute of limitations exceptions for minors

Minors also get additional time to file a lawsuit once they turn 18 if their parents have not already done so. The two-year statute of limitation begins to run at the time that the minor reaches the age of 18. There are also additional flexibilities for minors who have been the victims of sexual abuse.

Keep in mind: you are the one who has the affirmative burden to prove that an exception to the statute of limitations exists. Because of the importance of the statutes of limitations, courts very strictly apply any exceptions. You should not rely on the court’s finding that one exists.

You never want to be in a position of having to argue why a court should not apply a very strict limitation. If you are in that position, you face long odds of obtaining financial compensation.

You Cannot Wait Too Long to Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

Always contact an attorney early in the process of recovering from an injury. If you are just looking for a lawyer a few months before the statute of limitations expires, you will put yourself in a very precarious legal position.

Not only may you have already lost the proof that can demonstrate liability, but your lawyer would have to rush to file a claim or complaint in court. Many attorneys will not even accept the case that they may receive shortly before the end of the statute of limitations. It would be an uphill battle for them, and your lawyer is only paid if you win your case.

Contact a Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer Now

Again, you cannot afford to delay getting legal help for your personal injury claim. Wait too long, and your legal rights may be in peril. The Gibbons & Crichton, Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers are ready and standing by to help you when you need us. Take the first step, which is contacting us to schedule your free initial consultation. You can send us a message through our website, or you can call us today at 215-274-0173 to speak with a personal injury lawyer.

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