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How a Statute of Limitations Works

A statute of limitations is a law that sets a time limit for a cause of action.  It sets the maximum amount of time that a party has to file a claim for legal proceedings.  The statute of limitations is different depending on the offense and even varies between states for the same offense.

It’s important to speak to an attorney at the earliest time available after an incident so that he or she can begin legal proceedings in order to toll the statute.  Many clients that have been the victims of medical malpractice come into our office for incidents that have occurred past the statute of limitations for medical malpractice actions in Pennsylvania and sometimes there is nothing we can do on their behalf.

Further, it’s important to give your attorney enough time to research your issue.  For example, in a medical malpractice action the attorney needs to gather medical records, speak to experts, and research case law before filing a complaint.  This process can take several months and many attorneys do not like to take a case that has a statute running out within the next six months.

Common Statutes of Limitations in PA

Cause of Action                    Time                                               Statute                               

Assault & Battery               2 years                         42 Pa. Consol. Stat. § 5524(1) (2020)

Medical Malpractice          2 years                         42 Pa. Consol. Stat. § 5524(2) (2020)

Property Damage              2 years                         42 Pa. Consol. Stat. § 5524(3) (2020)

Personal Injury                   2 years                         42 Pa. Consol. Stat. § 5524(2) (2020)

Trespass                              2 years                        42 Pa. Consol. Stat. § 5524(4) (2020)

Wrongful Death                 2 years                         42 Pa. Consol. Stat. § 5524(2) (2020)

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