What’s the Time Limit to Bring a Car Accident Injury Lawsuit?

If you have suffered injuries in a Pennsylvania auto accident, and the accident was the fault of a negligent driver, you have the right to bring a personal injury lawsuit against that driver. You can claim damages for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses and other losses.

There is a time limit, however, within which you must start your lawsuit. These time limits, known as statutes of limitation, vary from state to state. Under Pennsylvania law the statute of limitations to bring a personal injury lawsuit arising out of a car accident is two years from the date of the accident. If you do not commence a lawsuit within that two-year period, your claim will likely be forever barred from court. It is not enough to make a demand or send a letter to the other driver or their insurance company; you must actually start a lawsuit within the two years.

One important exception to the two-year statute of limitations applies if the injured car accident victim was under 18 years old at the time of the accident. In that case, the two-year period does not begin to run until the victim reaches the age of 18.

Two years might seem like plenty of time to bring a lawsuit, but it actually isn’t. For one thing, accident victims often do not realize they have sustained a serious injury until weeks or even months after the accident. For this reason it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after a car accident, even if your injuries appear at first to be minor.

Another reason to act quickly after an accident is to preserve evidence. If you wait until the two years has almost run out before contacting a lawyer, evidence may have disappeared or a helpful witness may have moved to another state.

The information in this post is general information only and should not be considered legal advice. If you have been injured in a car accident an experienced personal injury attorney can answer your specific questions.

Source: 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 5524, accessed Jan. 5, 2015

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