When it comes to calculating time, we prefer to have nice round numbers like 24 hours in a day and 60 minutes in an hour. Unfortunately, in the Earth's annual journey around the sun, the laws of time and space did not give us a nice round number. Earth's orbit around the sun takes 365.256 days. Believe it or not, that extra 0.256 days can cause problems in personal injury lawsuits.
As a way to make up for the extra quarter or so of a day each year, every 4 years is a Leap Year. This is the year when we add an extra day to the end of February, giving it 29 days instead of the usual 28 days. This can cause a problem with things like bookkeeping, salary calculation, and time limits in lawsuits.
The problem with an extra day in law generally involves the “statute of limitations.” The statute of limitations is the time limit a plaintiff has to file their claim. After the statute of limitations expires, the plaintiff may not be able to file a lawsuit because it is out-of-time.
Statutes of limitations, notification requirements, and other filing deadlines can be based on a number of days or a number of years. It is important to look closely at the deadlines because filing a claim even one day may result in having your claim denied, leaving you with no recovery after a personal injury accident.
Statute of Limitations in Pennsylvania
For most personal injury claims in Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations is 2 years from the date of the injury or accident. Under Rule 106 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure, the period shall be computed as to exclude the first and include the last day of such period.
This means that if you were in a car accident on February 15, 2018, you would generally have to file a lawsuit by February 15, 2020. If your claim is filed one day late, the defendants may be able to file a “motion to dismiss” based on the late filing.
The statute of limitations for personal injury accidents is based on the term of years. Under Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, a “year” is defined as a calendar year and not a term of 365 days. Generally, a leap year is included as a “calendar year” for calculation, so leap year may not impact your filing deadline for a personal injury claim. However, do not take any chances when it comes to your claim. Contact your personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident to make sure your claim is filed in time.
Leap Year May Give You An Extra Day to File
In the case of LaRosa v. Cove Haven Inc., the court addressed the issue of whether a leap year provides 366 days to calculate the statute of limitations. A “year is a period consisting of either three hundred sixty-five (365) days, in common sense, but also three hundred sixty-six (366) days when that same statutory period includes a leap year.” 840 F. Supp. 319,321 (M.D. Pa. 1993).
In that case, the plaintiff filed their lawsuit 731 days after the cause of action had arisen. The defendant argued that the claim was late because a year should consist of 365 days (730 days for 2 years). However, a leap year occurred during that time. The court found the plaintiff's complaint was filed in time based on the calendar year application.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Representation
Do not take any chances when it comes to filing your personal injury lawsuit. If you need legal representation after an injury accident, contact the attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian, LLC. Our firm focuses exclusively on personal injury and medical malpractice cases. We have the legal team that can provide you the support and dedication your case needs. There is no fee for an initial consultation. Call 1.800.592.6162 today.