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Pennsylvania Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for personal injury & accidents in Pennsylvania is two (2) years (Ref: 42 Pa. C.S. § 5524). 

What this means is that you (or your attorney) must file a lawsuit against a defendant within two years of the date of your accident. If you do not file a lawsuit within two years, generally you forfeit any potential claim against the defendant as a matter of law - meaning there will be no opportunity for a settlement, arbitration or trial. 

Disclaimer: Although the information presented on this page is generally true there are some exceptions to this information, and the Pennsylvania Statute of Limitations (and the exceptions) may change over time. If you or a family member was involved in an accident and considering seeking compensation for your injuries it is crucial that you speak to an Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer to discuss your claim and potential recovery.

Variations on Time Limits for Filing a Lawsuit in Pennsylvania

There are some variations & exceptions to the 2 years statute of limitations on personal injury cases in Pennsylvania. Because of this, it is critical you discuss your matter with a lawyer who is highly experienced in personal injury law.

  • If the injured person is under the age of 18 (and is not a legally emancipated minor) at the time of the underlying accident or incident that caused the injuries, the two-year "clock" probably won’t start running until the injured person turns 18. 
  • If, at some point after the underlying accident, and before the lawsuit can be filed, the person who allegedly caused the plaintiff's injuries (the defendant) is outside the state of Pennsylvania for more than four months, or conceals him or herself within the state by using a false name within the state, the period of absence/concealment likely won't be counted as part of the two years.

What if You Miss the Deadline to File a Lawsuit?

If you miss the deadline to file a lawsuit and the Pennsylvania statute of limitations passes (barring any exceptions), the opposing party will almost surely move for case dismissal and it will likely be granted. This also means that nearly any hope of a settlement will also be forfeited because there is no leverage to potentially pursue a trial (since it would immediately be dismissed). 

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