If you suffered an injury due to another person’s carelessness, you may want to know how long it could take to recover compensation. Whether you suffered a car, motorcycle, or truck accident, a slip and fall injury, or another type of accident in Pennsylvania, understanding the timeline of your personal injury case is important.
As a victim, you could have extensive medical bills, property damage, and could have lost wages from missed work. The financial toll could be even more substantial if your injury prevents you from returning to work.
It is important to begin the process early. The sooner you start, the sooner you can receive a payment. This also helps you avoid missing the statutory time limit on your claim.
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Statute of Limitations
If you think you have a personal injury claim, it is important to consider the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is the time limit Pennsylvania law sets. It restricts how much time can pass between an accident and your claim.
Waiting too long to contact a lawyer for your personal injury case could result in losing the opportunity to pursue your rights. Courts typically dismiss cases that fall outside the statute of limitations.
What is the time limit on personal injury cases in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania has a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury cases. This includes actions to recover damages for injuries. It also includes wrongful death cases. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is also two years.
As a result, you must assert your personal injury lawsuit within two years following your injury.
Sometimes, however, victims do not realize they suffered an injury until the statute of limitations has elapsed. This commonly happens in medical malpractice cases. In these cases, patients can find out about a healthcare professional’s carelessness later. This is because complications happen at a later date.
In that case, the statute of limitations starts to run when the victim discovers the injury. Or it begins when a reasonable person would have realized the harm.
Statute of Repose for Medical Malpractice Cases
Pennsylvania law attempts to limit litigation for medical malpractice cases. It does this by imposing a seven-year statute of repose. If you have experienced medical malpractice, you must bring a personal injury case within seven years of the mistake.
Factors that Influence How Long a Personal Injury Case Could Take
Pennsylvania personal injury cases vary in their complexity. Generally, more complex cases involving multiple parties could take longer to resolve than simple accidents involving two drivers.
Sometimes, defendants are willing to settle quickly, whereas others try to fight longer. Factors that could affect the defendant’s willingness to settle include how much compensation you seek and how much legal support the defendant has.
Generally, pursuing a personal injury claim involves taking the following steps after you experience an injury. Each case is unique. These steps could differ depending on your circumstances.
Seek Medical Attention
Your first step following an accident should be to seek medical attention. Even if you do not feel pain right away, you could have suffered a severe injury. Whiplash, a common and painful complication from rear-end collisions, often does not immediately produce symptoms.
When you make an insurance claim or bring a personal injury lawsuit against the wrongdoer, you will need to be able to show that you were injured. Critically, doctors can document the reason for your visit and your diagnosis. Obtaining medical attention and generating medical records can help you prove that you suffered an injury that severely affected your life.
Retain a Personal Injury Lawyer
After you get medical attention, the next step in securing compensation is to consult with a personal injury lawyer.
As an injury victim, Pennsylvania law protects your right to pursue compensation with or without legal representation. However, having a lawyer can be beneficial. It can be challenging to navigate the legal system alone. Personal injury lawyers have invaluable knowledge and experience.
Hiring an attorney can also lessen your responsibilities. Your attorney can help you assess the merits of your case, gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and fight for you in court.
Your lawyer can also help you keep track of essential time restrictions, such as when your statute of limitations elapses. Your attorney can inform you of your rights, including your right to just compensation for your injury.
Once you hire a Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer, your advocate will investigate your case. Your lawyer will gather evidence that supports your legal claim.
Evidence that your lawyer could use to build your case includes:
- Accident reports
- Witness accounts
- Footage of the accident
- Phone records, which could show the other driver was distracted
Your lawyer can assess the usefulness of the evidence and compile evidence that strengthens your case.
Filing an Insurance Claim
Before taking your case to court, your lawyer can help you negotiate with insurance companies and file an insurance claim. A successful insurance claim could help you get compensation faster than civil litigation alone.
Insurance is also an important avenue of financial support following an accident.
Initiating A Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you wish to hold the person or persons responsible for your accident liable under Pennsylvania law, your lawyer can file a personal injury lawsuit with the court. This initiates the process of getting money damages.
Once your lawyer files your case, the discovery process commences. Discovery entails accessing more evidence to prepare for trial.
Many civil cases, including personal injury cases, settle outside of court. Your attorney can negotiate on your behalf to secure a settlement that provides you with financial compensation for your injury.
Some cases do not settle and go to trial. If this happens, your attorney can present your case to the court. Your attorney could use a reconstruction of the accident to illustrate how the defendant caused the accident and should be held liable.
Contact a Pennsylvania Personal Injury Attorney for Help
If you were injured in an accident in Pennsylvania, Marzzacco Niven & Associates could help you through the process of seeking the compensation you deserve.
The firm has over 120+ years of combined experience in personal injury, workers’ compensation, and employment law. Marzzacco Niven & Associates have recovered tens of millions on behalf of accident victims in Pennsylvania.
Contact Marzzacco Niven & Associates at (717) 231-1640 for a free consultation and learn more about how a personal injury lawyer can help you.