How Long After an Accident Can I File a Personal Injury Claim?

Being injured can turn your life upside down, regardless of whether you were hurt in a car accident, a slip and fall, at work, or anywhere else. While attending to your physical injuries should always be your first priority, it is important that if you believe your injury was a result of negligence on the part of another person or entity, you don’t let too much time go by before pursuing legal action. Here’s what you need to know about personal injuries and the limits on how much time you have to file a claim.

When it comes to filing lawsuits, every state has set its own time limits on how much time a victim has available to them for filing a claim or prosecuting a case. The legal term for this time limit is “statute of limitations,” and different periods of time are established for different types of claims. Statutes of limitations exist for both civil litigation and for criminal litigation: though there is no limit for murder, even prosecutors are limited in the amount of time they have to prosecute serious crimes like rape or assault.

When it comes to civil litigation for personal injuries, the state of Pennsylvania has established a statute of limitations of two years. This doesn’t mean that the case must be resolved within that period of time — rather, it means that you have two years in which to file a claim notifying the court and the defendant of your intent to sue. Filing the claim before the statute of limitations will preserve your rights and serve as a place marker. However, there are good reasons to begin the process much earlier.

Though it may be tempting to take your time to recover and let your life return to normal, as well as to gauge exactly how your injury has affected your life, in doing so you allow memories to fade and lose the ability to collect valuable evidence from any witnesses who may have been on the scene. That’s why it is a good idea to contact an attorney as soon as possible after your injury occurs. They can begin to conduct interviews and gather information while memory is fresh and information is accessible.

If you have been injured and you believe it was caused by negligence, our personal injury attorney will be happy to explain how we can help and the amount of time you have available. Contact us today to set up a time for an appointment.