What should Pennsylvanians know about "statute of limitations?"


Many Pennsylvanians may think that they can file a legal action anytime they want to, since it is their right to do so. However, there are certain laws that must be followed before filing a lawsuit. A wrongful death lawsuit, in particular, cannot be filed anytime. It is in the best interests of Pennsylvanians to know such nuances in case they need this information in the future.

What are statutes of limitations? Statute of limitations refers to a particular time frame when a person can file a lawsuit against an entity or another person. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit, including medical malpractice, is two years. Why put a limit on filing a legal action? The point of putting a limitation on filing a lawsuit is to make sure that the evidence, which can refer to documents, memories and physical manifestations of alleged wrongdoing, remains undamaged by the course of time.

What is the "discovery rule?" In a wrongful death case, the time of death is the usual start of the "countdown" to file a lawsuit. Nonetheless, the "discovery rule" can also be used. This legal measure states that the time of the countdown can start when the negligent action that caused the injury or death was first discovered by the victim. A wrongful death attorney can help shed light on such legal nuances.

Is it too late to file a wrongful death case when it is beyond the statute of limitation? Pennsylvanians face an uphill climb if they file a legal action beyond the allowable time frame. While legal measures like having the statutes waived by the court or tolling of limitations can serve as a last resort, it is not generally advisable. Pennsylvanians, with the guidance of a skilled wrongful death attorney, should file a wrongful death as early as possible to preserve all of the evidence.

Source: Acba.org, "What is statute of limitation?," accessed on Nov. 10, 2014

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