What is the Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Lawsuits in Pennsylvania?
Ryan Zavodnick | March 5, 2020 | Car Accidents
Car accidents are common occurrences. While they can be completely accidental, there is usually at least one party to blame. You may have high medical bills or you may have lost wages if you were injured in an accident. You could also have on-going medical or mental issues that were caused by the accident.
If that is the case, you may need compensation from the person who was responsible for the accident. However, you must be mindful of how long you wait to file a lawsuit. There is a time limit. This limit is called the statute of limitations. If it expires, you will lose your right to sue.
What is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations is a law that restricts your time limit to bring a lawsuit or be sued. The time limit depends on the type of case and the type of accident. States differ in their statute of limitation laws. A car accident time limit could be four years in one state and three years in another.
If the statute of limitations time limit has passed, no lawsuit can be filed. This means that you cannot be sued and you can no longer sue someone after that date. The purpose of the statute of limitations is to stop the threat of a lawsuit from going on forever. The intention is that by the end of the time limit, a person should know if they need compensation and how to seek it.
A lawsuit for a car accident does not only apply to injuries or death. It can also apply to property damage. In general, the statute of limitations will be the same regardless of why you are seeking compensation. It is always best to seek representation and file a lawsuit quickly to avoid having your case dismissed because you waited too long to take action.
Car Accidents in Pennsylvania
It is a simple case if one person is completely to blame for the accident. However, that is rarely what happens. Usually, both parties or multiple people caused the accident. Pennsylvania is a modified comparative fault state. This is the name given to the process the court uses to determine the amount of fault and the amount of money someone can recover in a lawsuit.
Comparative fault states allow for the injured person to recover some sort of damage, even if they were 99% at fault for the accident. However, the amount they can recover is limited to the percent they were not responsible for. In this case, the injured person would only be able to receive 1% of their requested compensation.
Modified comparative fault states, like Pennsylvania, use a similar approach. You can still only recover the amount of the percentage you were not at fault. For example, if the court finds that you could recover $100,000 in damages but you are 20% responsible for the accident – the most you could obtain is $80,000. The main difference between the two types of comparative fault rules is that if you are found to be more than 50% responsible for the accident in Pennsylvania, you cannot recover any compensation.
What is the Statute of Limitations in Pennsylvania
For car accidents, like most personal injury cases in the state, the statute of limitations in Pennsylvania is two years. The date begins on the day the car accident happens. If someone is killed or injured, a lawsuit must be filed two years or less to the day of the actual accident. Your case will be dismissed if you wait longer than that to file a lawsuit.
It is important to note that the law is slightly different for wrongful death lawsuits. Wrongful death is a lawsuit against someone who caused someone else’s death through negligence or some sort of intentional action. These claims can happen in car accident lawsuits. The statute of limitations is two years after the person has passed away. This means that if the person was injured but did not pass away until two months after the accident, the two-year time limit would start on the day of their death.
Finally, unlike many other states, Pennsylvania allows drivers to choose a “no-fault” type of car insurance. If you chose this type of insurance and you are injured in a car accident, you must first file your claim with your insurance. This is regardless of who is to blame for the accident. Once you file this claim, the insurance may cover some or all of your medical bills and other expenses. If this happens, there may not be a need for any lawsuit against the other driver.