What Is the Statute of Limitations of Personal Injuries in Pennsylvania? Find Out From a Pittsburgh Car Accident Lawyer
If you’ve recently been injured in a car accident, you may be able to receive compensation for your medical care, property damage, and pain and suffering. However, if you’re like many accident victims, you may also be dealing with the mental stressors and physical pain of your injuries, leading you to put off the compensation process.
While taking time to recover from your accident is essential, you should be aware of Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations for personal injuries. This law prevents you from filing lawsuits injury claims after a specific time has passed since your accident.
Read on to learn more about the statute of limitations in Pennsylvania and the steps you should take to file an accident claim. Then contact our Pittsburgh car accident lawyer team for assistance.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
A “statute of limitations” is a law regarding the amount of time you have to file a claim after a crime occurs.
Most states have statutes of limitations in place to ensure fair prosecution and legal action. These statutes prevent individuals from claiming that a crime happened twenty years ago, for example, as most evidence would probably be moot by then.
Memories fade over time, and statutes of limitations ensure that trials occur in reasonable times for all parties involved to remember their actions and gather relevant evidence.
Pennsylvania Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Injuries
Statutes of limitations vary slightly for each state. If you live in Pittsburgh, PA, you’ll want to know the exact laws for this city and state to ensure that you file your accident claim within the designated period.
The general statute of limitations in Pennsylvania is a two-years statute of limitations for all personal injury claims. In general, this statute applies to:
- Car accidents
- Wrongful death claims
- Slip and fall accidents
- Product liability claims
- Medical malpractice lawsuits
You should be aware that while the statute of limitations for injury cases is generally two years, there may be exceptions that extend the statute of limitations. For example, if a person is under the age of 18 at the time of the accident, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the person reaches the age of 18.
Because the statute of limitations for each case is particular to each case and requires an analysis by a knowledgeable attorney, you should call an attorney as soon as you can to determine the statute of limitation that applies to your case.
Steps to Seek Compensation for Car Accident Injuries
Most car accident victims do not immediately file lawsuits against the at-fault drivers from their accidents. Instead, they first seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company, then determine whether to proceed with a lawsuit.
As a result, you’ll want to get the ball rolling well before the statute of limitations expires on your case. It may take some time to determine whether you need to file a lawsuit or not.
Generally, here are the steps you should follow to seek compensation for your motor vehicle accident injuries:
1. Seek Medical Treatment
The most important step you can take after your accident is to seek medical care. At first, you may not realize the extent of your injuries due to the shock and mental trauma of the accident. However, seeking medical care as soon as possible can ensure that you receive the necessary treatment quickly, streamlining your recovery.
Receiving medical care is also important to your personal injury claim. You can use your doctor’s treatment plans and prescriptions as evidence to support your claim. You can also provide copies of your medical bills to back your request for financial compensation.
2. Hire a Car Accident Attorney
After you’ve received any necessary immediate medical treatment, we recommend contacting an attorney to assist you. Car accident lawyers have the required skills and knowledge to streamline your accident case. They can communicate with the insurance company on your behalf, help you gather evidence, represent you in court, and more.
3. Contact the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company
Next, you (or your attorney) should contact the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This company may contact you first if the at-fault driver has already filed their own claim. If not, you can call them directly.
4. File an Insurance Claim
Your next step is to file an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You can file this claim over the phone or online. You’ll need to include any relevant information you have about the accident, such as:
- Your name and contact information
- The date and location of the accident
- The events leading to the accident
- Images of your vehicle damage
5. Receive a Compensation Offer
The insurance company will then spend time reviewing the details of your claim and collecting any further information they need. Then, they will present you with a claim payment offer.
The initial offer you receive from the insurance company may be much lower than expected. Insurance companies often lowball accident victims at first to save money.
If you feel that the offer you receive is unfair, you and your attorney can try to negotiate with the insurance company.
6. Take Legal Action (If Necessary)
If the insurance company refuses to budge on their initial offer or does not offer adequate compensation, you and your attorney can then begin a lawsuit against the insurance company. The company may be more willing to settle out of court once you threaten a lawsuit.
You also have a legal right to sue the at-fault driver following your accident. You and your attorney can discuss the most reliable methods to seek compensation for your injuries and other damages.
If you’re considering filing a car accident claim, our lawyers can help. Contact our law firm today at 412-850-3061 to schedule your free consultation with a Pittsburgh car accident lawyer.