Under state law, the car accident statute of limitations in Pittsburgh is generally two years from the date of the accident. However, there are many circumstances that can change the time limit you have to take action. That is why it is important to discuss your crash with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
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. The car accident lawyers at Berger and Green can help you understand how to navigate this process and even handle it for you. Call 412-661-1400 today for a free case evaluation.
Are There Circumstances That Will Extend the Statute of Limitations?
In Pennsylvania, there are a number of exceptions that can extend the time you have to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
The 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. This means they have two years from that date to file a lawsuit and collect damages for the injuries they suffered.
You Were Not Aware of Your Injuries.
In some cases, you may receive extra time if you were not aware of your injuries immediately following an accident. Once you learn of your injuries—or reasonably should have known about them—the countdown to the deadline begins. This situation is more common in other types of lawsuits where injuries may not appear for a significant period of time.
Can Any Situation Reduce the Amount of Time I Have to Act?
There are some situations that might require you to act faster than the two-year deadline. For instance, you may have less time to act if a government agency is liable.
When the person who caused your accident was working for a government agency at the time of the crash, it is usually the agency who 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 only 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, this law also affects your ability to file an insurance claim or take another action against the liable party. In addition, it is important to remember that other deadlines may apply in your case. That is why we recommend taking action before the statute of limitations runs out, even if you do not plan on filing a lawsuit.
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. This means the statute of limitations never comes into play.
However, it is still important to remember that this deadline plays an important role in motivating the insurance company to settle with us. Most insurers do not want to litigate a case and spend thousands of dollars unnecessarily. The insurance company knows we will file a lawsuit if it does not offer a fair settlement, so we have leverage during our negotiations. If our deadline has passed, we lose this leverage, and the insurance company has little reason to offer you fair compensation.
You Need to Notify Your Own Insurer 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 stipulations 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.
How Can I Take Legal Action Today?
If you suffered injuries in a Pittsburgh car accident, we recommend contacting a car accident attorney as soon as possible after your crash. At Berger and Green, our lawyers can help you understand your options for recovering compensation.
Call us today at 412-661-1400 for a free case evaluation with a member of our team.