Lehigh Valley: 610-435-7400

Philadelphia: 215-567-6616

Understanding the Statute of Limitations in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

When you have been hurt because of the careless, negligent or wrongful acts of another person, you must initiate legal action to recover any losses within a specific period of time from the date the injury occurred. There are many good reasons for this rule. First, the longer you wait to bring legal action, the more likely witnesses will forget what happened, will relocate or may even die. Evidence can also be lost. Furthermore, the law discourages an open-ended period in which to file a personal injury lawsuit, as it forces the defendant to live indeterminately with the threat of a lawsuit hanging over him or her.

The statute of limitations varies from state to state, and will also typically vary based on the type of legal action. In Pennsylvania, a person must file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of the date the injury was suffered. Surviving family members must file a wrongful death claim within two years of the date of death.

There are circumstances, however, that can suspend, or “toll,” the statute of limitations. For example, you may be unaware of the full extent of your losses at the time of an accident—there may be injuries that don’t become apparent for months or years after the incident. You may manifest a reaction to the use of a pharmaceutical product years after taking it. In these instances, Pennsylvania law applies what is known as the “discovery rule.” Pursuant to the discovery rule, the statute of limitations on a personal injury does not start to run until a person actually discovers, or should reasonably have discovered, the injury.

Contact Metzger & Kleine

At Metzger & Kleiner, we offer a free initial consultation to every client. For an appointment, contact our office online or call us at 215-567-6616 in Philadelphia, 610-435-7400 in the Lehigh Valley, or toll free at 866-847-4170.

We take all personal injury claims on a contingency basis. We will only bill you attorney fees if we recover compensation for your losses.

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