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Pennsylvania Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Lawsuits

Statute of Limitations in Pennsylvania

A statute of limitations sets a time limit within which an individual must file a legal claim in court. For a case in which a person is injured, Pennsylvania has specific laws for when a person can file a lawsuit to recover damages due to another’s wrongful act.

When the Statute of Limitations Begins for a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Pennsylvania

The statute of limitations for a personal injury case in Pennsylvania is typically two years from the date that the injury occurred. This means that if you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you have a limited amount of time to hire a personal injury lawyer and file a lawsuit to pursue compensation for your injuries. In the event the injury leads to a person’s death and you are pursuing a wrongful death claim on that individual’s behalf, the statute of limitations begins when the injured person dies.

Failing to File a Personal Injury Claim within the Statute of Limitations

If you fail to file your claim within the specified time frame of the statute of limitations, you may lose your right to seek compensation and recover damages for your personal injury case. If you file a lawsuit outside of the statute of limitations, your case will likely be dismissed unless it fits into one of the exceptions to the law.

Exceptions to the Two-Year Statute of Limitations

There are several exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations for filing Pennsylvania personal injury lawsuits. These exceptions can extend the period during which a lawsuit can be filed, depending on the specific circumstances of the personal injury case. Some of these exceptions include:

Discovery Rule

The discovery rule applies when the injured party was not aware, and should not reasonably have been aware, of the injury at the time it occurred. In such cases, the statute of limitations may start from the date the injury was discovered, or should have been discovered, rather than the date of the injury itself. The discovery rule thus provides an important exception to Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations, thus protecting an injured person’s ability to pursue a personal injury case.


If the injured party was under the age of 18 at the time of the injury, the statute of limitations does not start until they reach 18. This means they have until their 20th birthday to file a lawsuit.

Mental Incapacity

If the injured victim is mentally incapacitated and unable to understand their legal rights, the statute of limitations may be tolled until the incapacity is lifted.

Governmental or Municipal Liability

Personal injury claims against a government entity in Pennsylvania, including claims against state employees or agencies, have a statute of limitations of six months from the date of the injury. Additionally, an injured person must submit a notice of intent to sue that government entity within the six-month statute of limitations. Failure to comply with this shorter statute of limitations and notice period may result in the dismissal of the case, leaving the injured person without recourse for recovering compensation under Pennsylvania law.

These exceptions highlight the importance of an injured person consulting with an attorney to understand how Pennsylvania’s personal injury statute applies to a specific case, as the ability to file a lawsuit may depend on these nuanced legal principles.

The Role of Insurance Companies in Personal Injury Cases

Filing a claim with your insurance company does not alter the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in Pennsylvania. The timeline for the personal injury statute remains firmly in place regardless of any insurance claims submitted. However, promptly notifying your insurance company about an incident and starting the claims process can be instrumental for several reasons. It can lead to an earlier resolution of some financial issues related to your injury, such as covering medical bills or lost wages, and it may also provide valuable documentation that could support a later lawsuit. It’s worth noting, though, that while insurance negotiations are ongoing, the clock on the personal injury statute of limitations continues to tick. Therefore, it’s critical to keep the statutory deadline in mind and ensure that you or your attorney take legal action within the prescribed two-year statute of limitations to preserve your rights.

When to Contact Personal Injury Lawyers for Personal Injury Cases

Given Pennsylvania’s personal injury statute of limitations, it’s advisable for an injured victim to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible after the injury occurred. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the more time they will have to gather evidence, assess the full extent of your injuries, and build a strong case on your behalf for your personal injury claims. Additionally, early legal consultation can help ensure that you do not accidentally forfeit your right to seek compensation by missing the statute of limitations. Keep in mind that legal processes can be lengthy and complex, so initiating the process early can be crucial to your personal injury claim and recovering compensation.

Free Attorney Consultation for Personal Injury Claim

If you’re uncertain about whether your situation warrants making a personal injury claim, a personal injury lawyer can offer a free consultation for your potential personal injury case. This initial meeting provides a risk-free opportunity for you to discuss the details of your injury with a legal professional who can offer guidance on the likelihood of a successful case. During this consultation, the personal injury lawyers will review the specifics of your case, advise you on your legal options, and help you understand the potential outcomes of filing a personal injury lawsuit. They can also ensure that any action is taken within the appropriate statute of limitations so that you are not precluded from seeking compensation. It’s a valuable step to making an informed decision about moving forward with legal action for your personal injury claim. Remember, taking advantage of a free consultation does not obligate you to hire the personal injury attorneys, but it can provide critical insights into the merits of your case and what steps you should take next.

At PhillyLaw, our skilled legal team is dedicated to fighting for the rights of injured victims, ensuring they receive the justice and compensation they deserve. Whether negotiating with insurance companies or representing you in court, our goal is to lift the legal burden from your shoulders, allowing you to focus on recovery. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed due to an accident, we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation. Together, we will explore your options and diligently work toward securing the most favorable outcome for your case.