Understanding Personal Injury Claim Time Limits
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4 Things to Know About the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims

Scartelli Olszewski P.C.
Scartelli Olszewski P.C.

The statute of limitations on many crimes and actions is not the same across the country. Each state has different terms, and personal injury cases are no different. If you are injured by another person, they are responsible for covering your financial losses and recovery… for a short period of time.

You cannot wait forever. If you are unsure of how long you have to file for a personal injury claim, you can contact the personal injury attorneys at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C. for more information. Our attorneys can help you determine how long you have until the statute of limitations is reached and when the statute of limitations timeline began.

What is a Personal Injury Claim?

When an individual suffers a personal injury due to another person’s negligence, they are legally entitled to seek compensation for their losses. They can seek this compensation by filing a personal injury claim against them.

This goes to civil court, not criminal court. You cannot sue someone to see them go to prison, you can only receive compensation from them.

What is a Statute of Limitations?

A statute of limitations is a legal time limit for when someone can take legal action for a particular event or incident. This does apply to crimes, but we’re focusing on its use in terms of civil court and personal injuries. The time limit begins from the date of the incident, and any claims made after this period has expired are normally not considered by the court.

There are exceptions for when the incident has left the person who would be able to file a claim unable to physically do so. Then the statute of limitations applies from when a guardian is first informed and able to file a claim, or the victim first becomes able to file a claim.

#1. What Determines a Time Limit on a Statute of Limitations?

The length of this period varies depending on the state or country in which you live. Generally, these time limits range between one to six years, with some states extending it up to ten years for certain types of cases.

For the sake of comparison, in California, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years, while in Texas, it’s four years. In Pennsylvania, the time limit is two years.

#2. Why Are There Statutes of Limitations in Personal Injury Cases?

Statutes of limitations try to encourage as much fairness to all parties involved as possible. You cannot threaten and loom a lawsuit over someone’s head forever. In the eyes of the court, there is no legal benefit or reason to wait unless your health or injury disables you from filing.

#3. When Can The Statute of Limitations be Extended?

There are several instances where you can seek an extension, or when you should still be able to file a claim after the statute of limitations has passed.

  • In cases where there was a delay in the discovery of your injury, the court may choose to extend the time limit to prevent an unjust result. Some injuries do not reveal themselves for a long time, particularly cancerous growths caused by exposure to chemicals.
  • If a person is physically or mentally incapacitated due to their injuries and unable to file a claim, their time frame can be extended by the courts. This can take the form of changing when the statute of limitations began.
  • If the incident involved a minor, the statute of limitations does not begin until they reach adulthood.

#4. The Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice is the Same for Personal Injury, but Workers’ Compensation is Not

Medical malpractice is treated like any other personal injury claim in the eye of the law, but that same is not true for cases of workers’ compensation. In cases of workers’ compensation, the statute of limitations is three years from the date a doctor identified the injury or disease.

What Should You Do After You Suffer a Personal Injury?

After you suffer a personal injury, either in your personal life, at a hospital, or while working, you need to see a doctor, potentially multiple. You want to make sure that you are physically alright and healing, but you also want to have multiple records of your injury and potential proof of the cause.

Once you are able, you want to contact an attorney. The personal injury attorneys at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C. have the experience you need to get the compensation you deserve. Do not suffer in silence when someone’s negligence is responsible for your injury. Contact us today.