What Is the Pennsylvania Statute of Limitations?

Frequently, when you consider whether to file a lawsuit, you will be informed by an attorney that you have a limited time period to sue. That time limit is called the statute of limitations. The SOL as it is abbreviated, varies by state and cause of action.  Meaning that the statute for medical malpractice cases can be different than for car accidents.

For most personal injury cases in Pennsylvania, a lawsuit must be filed within two years of when the injury happened. So, if your car accident happened two years and one day ago, and you try to bring a suit, you will be time-barred from filing your lawsuit. It is absolutely crucial that your lawsuit be filed in time. If you do not file on time, you aren’t looking at just a reduction in your lawsuit dollar amount, you are looking at a complete loss of your ability to sue for the injury.

Medical Malpractice

For medical malpractice cases, which are a type of personal injury, the Pennsylvania statute of limitations is also two years. However, there is an exception called the discovery rule. This rule can cause the statute to begin running at the time you knew or should have known that you were injured by a medical professional’s negligence. Pennsylvania attorney, Dennis Abrams, explains why medical malpractice is a bit different from other kinds of cases when it comes to the statute of limitations.


When a minor, someone under the age of 18, is injured, he has the right to file suit up to two years after his 18th birthday.  The minor must be un-emancipated, which means that he is not totally self supporting. A child who is emancipated must sue as if he were a legal adult, which means he has two years from the date of injury. Dr. Esther Gallagher explains how the Pennsylvania statute of limitations is different for minors.

Wrongful Death

Another area in which the statute of limitations is a bit different is for wrongful death cases. When someone dies as a result of negligence, the statute does not begin to run until the person dies. So, if the wrongful behavior that hurt someone is one year before that person dies, the wrongful death portion of the case does not have its statute begin to run until the date that person does.  So the Pennsylvania statute of limitations for that claim would be two years from the date of death as opposed to from the date of injury.


It is extremely important that your Pennsylvania personal injury attorney be familiar with and understand the importance of the statute of limitations. Failure to file a lawsuit in time is one of the most common legal malpractice claims against attorneys. Make certain that you retain a Pennsylvania law firm, such as Lowenthal & Abrams, Injury Attorneys, that appreciates the importance of the statute of limitations and will protect your right to sue by following it. You also want to help your attorney by giving her as much time as possible to prepare for your case. If you wait until the last minute, it may not be possible to gather all of the necessary documents and supporting evidence to file a lawsuit. You should call a lawyer as soon as you are able to do so.

If you have been injured, contact the injury attorneys of Lowenthal & Abrams, Injury Attorneys. We will fight for your right to sue in court.


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