A cause of action for wrongful death accrues on the date of death and must be filed within two years of that date.
Personal Injury Actions
A personal injury action must be filed within two years of the date when the injury occurred. In Pennsylvania, personal injury actions include medical malpractice and products liability claims. Pennsylvania does, however, have a "discovery rule," which, in limited cases, extends the time for filing a personal injury action. Under this rule, the statute of limitations will begin to run at the time the plaintiff knows, or should have known, that he or she was injured and that the injury was caused by another's conduct.
Special Rules for Minors
Except in cases of wrongful death, an "unemancipated minor" must file suit within two years of his or her 18th birthday. An "unemancipated minor" is a person under 18 who is not totally self-supporting. In cases where the minor is emancipated, or totally self-supporting, at the time of the injury, he or she must file suit within two years of the date when the injury occurred.
A workers' compensation claim for injury or death must be filed within three years of the date of the injury or disability. You have 120 days after the occurrence of the injury to report and give notice of the injury to your employer. The notice shall inform the employer that a certain employee received an injury, described in ordinary language, in the course of his/her employment on or about a specified time, at or near a place specified.
What are Statutes of Limitations?
Note: Statutes of limitations restrict the time period that a person can file a lawsuit. These statutes not only vary by state, but they also vary by cause of action. The guides in this section provide limitations periods for each state, but only for particular causes of action; specifically, those related to personal injury, medical malpractice, and products liability claims. The sections discussing special rules for minors only apply to the causes of action listed for that particular state.
Note: Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia. This information is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia, although if you are injured in an accident, we have relationships with other personal injury attorneys and lawyers throughout the United States.