Is there a statue of limitations for personal injuries?

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Is there a statue of limitations for personal injuries?

A friend was in auto accident 6-7 months ago and it was found that the other driver was at fault for wrecking both cars. Friend didn’t have any noticeable injuries however 1-2 weeks later he tore his ACL knee ligament stepping on a curb. Paramedic believes that the knee may have been weekend from the prior car accident. Is there a statue of limitations to sue the driver for personal injuries and hospital/surgery bills?

Asked on December 9, 2011 under Personal Injury, Pennsylvania

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The statute of limitations in a personal injury case varies from state to state.  Without knowing in which state your friend lives, in which state the at-fault driver (registered owner) lives and in which state the accident occurred, it is not possible to know the applicable statute of limitations.  It is unlikely that it has expired because it is usually one or two years in most states.  A lawsuit can be filed where the plaintiff lives or where the defendant lives or where the claim arose.  If the plaintiff and defendant reside in different states and the claim arose in another state, if the statute of limitations has expired in one of these states, the lawsuit can be filed in the other applicable state(s). 

Prior to filing a lawsuit unless the statute of limitations is rapidly approaching, it may be possible to settle the case with the at-fault driver's insurance company upon completion of medical treatment and release by the doctor or upon being declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary which means reaching a point in the medical treatment where no further improvement is anticipated.  The personal injury claim filed with the at-fault driver/registered owner of the vehicle's insurance carrier will include the medical bills, medical reports and documentation of any wage loss.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensaion for wage loss is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of the injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  If the case is settled with the insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.  If your friend is dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance company, the settlement offers should be rejected and a lawsuit for negligence should be filed against the at-fault driver / registered owner (if the registered owner is someone other than the at-fault driver)  If the case is NOT settled with the insurance carrier, the lawsuit for negligence must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or your friend will lose his rights forever in the matter.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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