The Importance of Knowing Your Deadline to File a Claim Under Pennsylvania Law
Right after a serious injury, determining what legal rights and remedies you or your loved one has isn’t a priority. First things come first, and there are medical issues to face, bills to pay, and treatment decisions to make.
However, in Pennsylvania — under both state and federal law — you only get so much time to file your lawsuit. There is a set, immovable deadline for filing any claim, or lawsuit, based upon personal injuries that have been sustained in an accident or on the job.
If this deadline is missed, then the law is harsh. It will not matter how valid the claim is, or how serious the injuries are, or even if there’s been a death because of the event: the law will slam the courtroom doors on the case, as being “time barred” — you won’t have a valid legal case anymore.
You’ll be barred from pursuing your case because you missed the deadline. This is the absolute and sometimes cruel result of these “statutes of limitations.”
These deadlines can be very short. For example, these claims must all be filed within 2 years:
- Wrongful Death – Death Due to the Actions of Another Person-Must be filed within two years from the date of death.
- Personal Injury – Must be filed within two years from the date of the injury.
- Defective Product or Drug/Products Liability – Must be filed within two years after the date of the injury.
- Medical Malpractice –Pennsylvania medical malpractice claims must be filed within two years of the date that the injury is discovered by the victim (or reasonably should have discovered it), unless death has occurred. Then, the lawsuit must be filed within two years from the date of death. The deadline does not start to run when children are involved – however, when they turn 18 years of age, then they will have the standard time limit to file their medical malpractice claim. Being imprisoned or being found insane does not stop the deadline from running under Pennsylvania law.
It Shouldn’t Cost You Anything to Check Out Your Legal Rights and Remedies After An Injury in Pennslyvania
In its own way, it is very compassionate in serious personal injury situations, for example, for family members to investigate the victim’s legal redress – just as it is compassionate to help loved ones facing pain, suffering, and grief over loss in other loving and supportive ways.
At the Philadelphia, PA personal injury law firm of LBK, we welcome the opportunity to help victims and their family members in dealing with the legal issues surrounding an accident or injury. These initial legal consultations are always free – because our firm believes that checking out legal rights as soon as possible shouldn’t cost an injury victim or family member anything, and may well save important legal rights and claims from being time barred.
For more information, please contact LBK at ( 215) 399-9255 for more information or to schedule an appointment if you think we may be of help.
Who Pays? Who Is Responsible for Paying the Money Under Pennsylvania Law?
First, the Injury Victim’s Responsibility Will Be Assessed. In Pennsylvania, the law provides for comparative negligence – only if the plaintiff (injury victim) is more at fault than anyone else for the injuries will the victim’s claim be denied. Otherwise, the amount of responsibility attributable to the victim will be deducted from the damages total, and the defendants will be left to pay the remaining amount, according to the percentage of their responsibility.
Second, Pennsylvania law provides for “joint and several” liability. This allows the plaintiff to get payment of the entire judgment from a single defendant, although that defendant may not be totally responsible for the injury, if that defendant is at least 60% responsible for what happened.
That defendant can then seek contribution from other parties who are also at fault for the accident or injury, and this can be done in the plaintiff’s lawsuit or in a second, separate lawsuit where the wrongdoers fight it out between themselves.
Third, there are some instances where a defendant is considered “vicariously liable” for the acts of another. For example, a contractor may at times be held legally responsible for the actions of an independent contractor or subcontractor. Also, a hospital can be held legally responsible for the acts of a doctor on its staff if (1) a reasonable, prudent person would justifiably belief that the doctor was acting on behalf of the hospital or (2) the doctor’s care and treatment was represented as being rendered by the hospital. So, a hospital cannot deny that it is financially responsible for a doctor on its staff just because its management was not aware at the time of the bad acts that the doctor did.
Therefore, how much the defendants will have to pay may be lessened by the victim’s own responsibility for what happened – if the victim is responsible for anything, and that has been proven by admissible evidence. As for what defendants have to pay, the plaintiff may be able to get full payment of a judgment from one defendant, and leave that defendant to get reimbursement from the other wrongdoers. Finally, there may be defendants who are responsible for payment even if they weren’t involved in the accident itself: hospitals must pay for their physicians’ errors; employers must pay for employees’ mistakes; and general contractors may be responsible for their subcontractors.
If you or a loved one has been seriously hurt or killed in an on the job workplace or construction site accident in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey or New York, contact our experienced, highly rated Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey personal injury attorneys for a free, confidential consultation. (866) 641-0806/Click To Call
Our personal injury attorneys serve accident victims in the following areas: Allegheny County, PA; Berks County, PA; Bucks County, PA; Chester County, PA; Delaware County, PA; Lehigh County, PA; Montgomery County, PA; Northampton County, PA: Philadelphia County, PA; Atlantic County, NJ; Burlington County, NJ; Camden County, NJ; Cumberland County, NJ; Gloucester County, NJ; Salem County, NJ; New Castle County, DE; Kent County, DE; Atlantic City, NJ; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Newark, NJ; Doylestown, PA; Media, PA; West Chester, PA; Norristown, PA; Camden, NJ; Wilmington, DE; Newark, DE; Georgetown, DE; and New Castle, DE. They work with lawyers nationwide and can be admitted in other states to handle matters on a case by case basis.