Under Pa. C.S.A. § 5524, the car accident statute of limitations in Pittsburgh is generally two years from the date of the accident. However, there are circumstances that can change how long you have to take action. Discussing your case with a car accident lawyer on our team will give you a better idea as to how much time you have to take action.
Also, depending on the details of your case, you may need to take other steps before you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault motorist. We can help you understand how to navigate this process and even handle it for you.
Are There Circumstances That Will Extend the Statute of Limitations in Pittsburgh?
In Pennsylvania, there are a few exceptions that can extend the time you have to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
The Accident Victim Is a Minor
Pennsylvania tolls the statute of limitations when the victim is under the age of 18. When a child suffers injuries in a Pittsburgh car accident, the clock does not start ticking until they turn 18.
Thus, they have two years from the date the minor turns 18 to file a lawsuit and collect damages for the injuries they suffered
The at-Fault Party Dies Over 1 Year After the Accident But Prior to 2 Years After the Accident
When the at-fault driver dies more than 1 year after the accident, but before the 2 year statute of limitations expires, the statute of limitations may be extended beyond the normal 2 year statute of limitations. However, this is fairly uncommon.
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Can Any Situation Reduce the Amount of Time You Have to Act?
There are some situations that might require you to act faster than the two-year deadline.
For example, when the person who caused your accident was working for a government agency at the time of the crash, it is usually the agency that is liable. In these cases, a number of limitations may apply.
Sovereign immunity rules add extra stipulations to holding a government agency responsible for damages after a crash. We will need to act quickly and follow strict procedures to send notice of your injuries and proceed with our claim. In some cases, you may only have a few weeks to begin this process.
Does the Statute of Limitations Apply to Filing an Insurance Claim?
Legally, the statute of limitations applies to the time you have to file a lawsuit in civil court. If you decide you need to file a lawsuit to try to collect compensation after the deadline passes, the judge will likely bar you from doing so. However, the statute of limitations also affects your ability to file an insurance claim or take other action against the liable party. You must have your insurance claim settled or a lawsuit filed prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations.
In addition, it is important to remember that other deadlines may apply in your case. That is why we recommend taking action well before the statute of limitations runs out.
Evidence Can Fade When You Don’t Act Quickly
After a car accident, it’s important to gather all evidence as quickly as possible. If we wait too far into the legal process to take this step, we risk:
- Witnesses’ memories fading, so their accounts of the accident might be inaccurate
- Not having any witness testimony, if witnesses and other involved parties pass away within the statute of limitations
- Traffic camera footage getting destroyed, as it’s typically erased by the city after several months
- Losing track of your photos of the injuries, vehicles, and scene of the car accident
Yes, your testimony plays a vital role in your case, but it is not enough to convince the insurer, judge, and/or jury about the full extent and severity of your damages. So, if we don’t collect other forms of evidence, especially testimony and video footage, the amount of compensation you are eligible to recover might be compromised.
Waiting Too Long Could Impact Your Settlement
Most car accident cases never go before a judge. Instead, the victims file a claim based on the at-fault driver’s auto liability insurance policy. Then, they can negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company, so the statute of limitations might not come into play.
You Need to Notify Your Own Insurer of the Accident As Soon As Possible
Insurance policies are contracts between you and your insurance company. Many policies have tight deadlines for letting the company know you had an accident. There may also be requirements about how long you have to file a police report about the accident.
If the at-fault driver did not have insurance, you may need to notify your insurer of your intent to file an uninsured and underinsured motorist claim as soon as possible. It is essential that we take action quickly to avoid missing these deadlines.
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How a Car Accident Lawyer on Our Team Can Help You with Your Allegheny County Case
In addition to meeting the statute of limitations in Pittsburgh, there is a slew of other responsibilities that come with managing a car accident case. Allow our personal injury attorneys to take charge while you rest.
- Collect and analyze all forms of evidence
- Show the link between the other party’s negligence and your injuries
- Handle the back-and-forth with the involved parties
- Quantify your economic and non-economic damages
- Negotiate a settlement
All these services will be provided to you on a contingency-fee basis, which means there is no payment due unless and until your lawyer secures an award for you.
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Get Answers From Berger and Green Today
If you suffered injuries in a Pittsburgh car accident, our lawyers can help you figure out how the statute of limitations applies to your case and work with you to file it on time.
Call Berger and Green today at(412) 661-1400 for a free case evaluation with a member of our team.
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