After an injury, you may be overwhelmed dealing with your injuries, damaged property, the insurance company, and expensive medical bills. However, it is important to understand that if you don't act in time, you may lose the ability to be compensated for your injuries. You should not let the person responsible for your injuries get away with not having to compensate you for your losses. If another person caused your injuries, you may need the help of an experienced attorney to make sure they are held accountable.
Time Limits to File Your Claim
In most cases involving a personal injury or insurance coverage claim, there is a time limit to when you can file your claim. This is known as the ‘statute of limitations.' In most personal injury cases, the statute of limitations in Pennsylvania is two years. For example, if you had a slip and fall injury inside a grocery store, you may have two years to file your negligence claim against the grocery store to compensate you for your injuries. If you do not file your lawsuit in time, your case may be dismissed by the courts.
Two years may sound like a long time, but it is easy to let time slip away, and the next thing you know, you are stuck with the costs of your medical bills, lost wages, and any long term problems that resulted from the injury. This is why you should contact an attorney as soon as possible, so they can make sure your claim is filed in time.
Another reason to contact an attorney sooner rather than later is that it is easy to mix up exact dates as time moves on. There are too many unfortunate cases where an individual thinks the accident happened on one date, and they file their claim just in time, only to find that they were off by a couple of days, and their case is thrown out, leaving them without recovery.
There may be an exception when the injured individual is a minor who has not reached the age of 18. If a minor was injured, their two-year time limit may not begin until they turn 18.
Claims Involving the Government and Notice Requirements
Two years may seem like a long time to file your claim; however, if your claim involves the government as a party, you may have a shorter time to initiate a claim. The federal government, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia County, and the City of Philadelphia require that any potential plaintiff serve the proper governmental body with notice that they are filing a claim within a set period of time.
A notice of claim involving Philadelphia or Pennsylvania government agencies or government workers must be filed within 6 months of the date the injury occurred. This includes claims involving government buildings or property, as well as public transportation and SEPTA transit. If your claim is not filed in time, your claim may be denied.
Limited Recovery If You Accept an Insurance Deal
If you accept an insurance settlement or sign a waiver of your legal rights, you may have limited your recovery options. Some insurance companies try to get you to settle your case before you get an attorney, hoping that they will be able to get away with paying you less money. You should never sign a settlement offer or a waiver if you don't understand the consequences. Contact an attorney before accepting any deal, to make sure you are really getting what you deserve.
Some people think a settlement offer seems fair, before they realize just how damaging their injuries really are. After an injury, the victim should be compensated for their medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, lost wages, and future loss of earnings. Contact your personal injury attorney to make sure you don't lose your rights by signing a deal offered by the insurance company.
Your Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys
Filing a lawsuit may be stressful, but if you don't act in time, you may lose your right to recover your damages. Talk to your personal injury attorney as soon as you can to make sure you don't lose out on your right to recover. Contact the law firm of Gilman & Bedigian today for a free consultation. We will make sure all parties are held accountable, and fight to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.