A car accident can result in severe damage and a mounting list of expenses. Recovering compensation from the liable party can be essential. However, you need to realize that you have a limited amount of time to take action. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for filing a car accident lawsuit is two years.
If you miss the deadline for filing, you may be out of options for recovering compensation. At Rand Spear, we can help you ensure that all the necessary paperwork is prepared and filed on time. We have a long history of helping car accident victims recover the compensation they require. Contact us today to schedule a free case review.
Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit After the Statute of Limitations Has Run Out
Even though the statute of limitations is often unyielding, there are certain situations that may allow you to file a car accident lawsuit even if two years have already passed.
The Discovery Rule
One way in which the statute of limitations can be extended is if you suffer an injury that is not immediately noticeable after the accident. This is called the “discovery rule” and bases the start date for your statute of limitations clock on the date your injury was discovered.
Due to high adrenaline levels after an accident and the unique nature of some injuries, it can take time before you realize you have been harmed. With an injury discovered after the time of the accident, the two-year clock will not start running until the damage is discovered or should have reasonably been discovered.
However, it may prove more difficult to recover compensation for an injury not recorded at the time of the accident. Even if you think you are out of time to file a lawsuit, you should speak with an experienced car accident lawyer. An attorney can determine if you still qualify to file and build a strong case on your behalf.
If the At-Fault Party Leaves the State
Another situation in which the amount of time you have to file your lawsuit can be extended is if the liable party leaves the state after causing your accident. In this situation, the statute of limitations clock would pause until the at-fault party returns. For an extended absence from the state, this exception could create a situation where your window for filing opens years later.
If You Were a Minor at the Time of the Accident
If you were under the age of 18 at the time of your crash, you will not be expected to file within two years. However, your parents can still file a lawsuit on your behalf to cover your damages. If no legal action is taken at the time of your accident, your two-year clock will not start to run until your 18th birthday.
Further Restrictions on the Time You Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit
When attempting to recover compensatory damages through a car accident lawsuit, you could be surprised by an unexpected early deadline. While the two-year statute of limitations applies in most cases, certain situations can result in a much shorter filing window.
For example, if the liable party is a government entity, you will only have six months to submit an official notice of your intent to file a personal injury claim. If you are unaware of early deadlines like these, they can sneak up on you and bar you from collecting compensation from the liable party without you even realizing it.
Hiring an experienced Pennsylvania car accident lawyer as soon as possible after your crash is the best way to ensure that you protect your right to recover compensation. Your lawyer will be able to identify if there are any alterations to the standard deadline and ensure that all the required paperwork is filed on time.
Additional Benefits of Acting Quickly After a Car Accident
Even though you may feel like two years is plenty of time to take action, that should not prevent you from hiring an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible after your collision. Beyond protecting your right to recover compensation by filing before the deadline set forth by the statute of limitations, there are added benefits to taking action early.
It will be much more difficult for your attorney to build a strong case on your behalf if they are not able to get started until several months or more after your accident. The sooner your lawyer can get to work, the more evidence they will be able to collect before it can become lost or corrupted. Witness testimony also becomes less reliable the further removed from the date of the accident.
By hiring an attorney early, you can also protect yourself from the predatory tactics employed by insurance companies. Your lawyer will handle all communications with insurers, blocking them from using tricks to deny or devalue your claim.
Hiring an Experienced Lawyer Is Critical
At Rand Spear, we know how challenging it can be to keep track of all the various rules that apply to car accident claims. Knowing when you have to file is just one difficulty among many if you don’t have legal experience. That’s why hiring an experienced attorney is essential after a crash.
A Pennsylvania car accident lawyer will handle every aspect of your case, including making sure that all deadlines are met. This will free you up to focus on healing and restoring your life. Reach out to us today by phone or through our website to schedule a free case review with a member of our legal team.