When it comes to most personal injury cases, there are two deadlines an accident victim must meet. The first deadline has to do with your insurance company. Your insurance policy will indicate how long you have to file a claim following a car accident. If you miss this deadline, your Philadelphia injury attorney can always file an appeal to reopen the claim. Or, if the insurance company is being stubborn, your personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia can simply file a lawsuit against the other party.
The second deadline, which is a lot more important than the first one, is the statute of limitations period. In Philadelphia, plaintiffs only have two years from the date of their accident to file their lawsuit. This means that you must first meet with a Philadelphia injury attorney and see if they’ll take your case. Then your attorney will contact the insurance company and try to negotiate a settlement. If this doesn’t work, then you would want to file your lawsuit. The reason you don’t want to wait too long to hire an attorney is because they will need time to prepare your case. The last thing you want to do is miss that two-year statute of limitations deadline. If you do, your case will be dismissed, and you’ll have no option but to walk away.
Here, we will discuss how the statute of limitations works in Philadelphia. We will also explain why you should hire your personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia long before that deadline approaches. If you still have questions about your own personal injury case, contact our office directly either by phone or through our website. We offer our clients a free, initial consultation which gives you the chance to sit down with a seasoned attorney and discuss your case.
You Only Have a Certain Amount of Time to File Your Personal Injury Lawsuit
As briefly mentioned above, plaintiffs only have a 2-year period to file their personal injury lawsuit in Philadelphia. The two years will start running the day that you have your accident. Some people are under the misconception that the statute of limitations does not start running until you are aware that you have been injured. While there are very few handful of cases where this applied, the general rule is that the clock starts running the day of your accident.
One other misconception by a lot of our clients have is that their Philadelphia injury attorney has the ability to request an extension on the deadline. No competent attorney in Philadelphia would ever reach out to a judge ahead of time and ask for an extension on the statute of limitations period. Not only do they know the answer is probably going to be no, but it can make them look foolish and incompetent in front of a Philadelphia civil judge. If you insist that your personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia make this request, they will do so but just know that it will probably hurt your case.
Your Philadelphia Injury Attorney Must File Your Case Before the Deadline
When we say that your Philadelphia injury attorney must file your case before the deadline passes, we are referring to your actual lawsuit. What the rule states is that your complaint must be filed before end of business on the two year anniversary of your accident. If you are one day late, the judge is going to dismiss your complaint. If somehow, your complaint makes a pass the court clerk and the judge and is filed, don’t get too excited. One of two things will happen.
The defendant’s attorney will file a motion to dismiss the case based on the statutes of limitations period expiring. The judge will have no choice but to grant their motion and dismiss your case. The problem with this is that the defendant may be able to convince the judge to order you to pay their attorney’s fees. That’s the last thing you want to have happen. Not only will you walk away with nothing, but you’ll be expected to pay thousands of dollars to the defendant’s attorney because you technically filed a frivolous lawsuit. The other thing that will happen is that your case will somehow make it on the judge’s calendar and their clerk will notice right away that the case never should have been put through. At that point, your complaint will be dismissed, and your attorney will be notified that you do not have the option of refilling.
Don’t Wait Too Long to Hire Your Philadelphia Injury Attorney
If you have recently been injured in any sort of accident, the most important piece of advice we could give is to not wait too long to speak with a Philadelphia injury attorney. There are many reasons why you would rather move sooner than later. As time goes by, the evidence in your case becomes stale and witnesses may not remember much about the accident. In addition, there’s always the chance that the defendant could disappear or that their insurance carrier closes their doors. But the most important reason that you don’t wait until the last minute to hire an attorney is that you must meet the Philadelphia statute of limitations period.
As explained above, in Philadelphia, you only have two years from the date of your accident to file your lawsuit. If you miss this deadline, your case will be dismissed, and you will never be able to file it again. If you wait too long to hire a personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia, they may not have enough time to prepare your case. You may ask yourself why anybody would wait a full two years to file their lawsuit. One reason may be that they weren’t quite sure how much medical care they would need, and they didn’t want to demand too little in the way of damages. Or it could simply be a matter of the insurance company dickering around for months on end only to deny your claim at the last minute.
Regardless of what has happened up to now, it’s in your best interest to speak with a Philadelphia injury attorney sooner rather than later. We do offer new clients a free, initial consultation so it won’t cost you anything to come into the office. We also don’t ask our clients to pay anything upfront. This means that you will not pay our firm a penny and so we settle your case.