After being involved in a motor vehicle accident, you will need to take time to recover from the ordeal. However, if you are considering seeking a settlement or taking the case to trial, it is in your best interest to file a suit sooner rather than later.
There is a strict statute of limitations for car accident claims in Altoona that could substantially impact your ability to recover compensation for your losses. Speak with an experienced Altoona car crash attorney right away to get started on your case.
One of the purposes of a statute of limitations is to ensure that cases are timely filed so that evidence and witness testimony are reliable. For example, if a claimant was permitted to wait several years until filing a claim, the relevant evidence and testimony might not be reliable. Witnesses’ memories can fade, documents and video evidence can be lost or destroyed, and a claimant’s medical conditions can change through the passage of time. In Altoona, people injured in vehicle collisions have two years from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit.
If a civil suit is not filed within that two-year period, then the claim is permanently time-barred. This means the court will throw the case out regardless of its merits. It is important for anyone involved in an auto wreck to seek guidance from an attorney who is well-practiced in the area to avoid missing this critical deadline.
Notably, there are some exceptions that can result in an extension to this legal deadline. For instance, if the plaintiff is a minor, the statute of limitations does not begin until his or her 18th birthday. In other words, children injured in car crashes have until their 20th birthdays to file their claim. However, the minor’s parent is responsible for any unpaid medical bills, and the parent only has two years from the date of the incident in which to file a claim to pursue the recovery of those medical bills.
It is important to understand that the only thing that needs to occur prior to the statute of limitations expiring is that a lawsuit is filed, and all the proper defendants are correctly named and included in the suit. It is also important that the defendants be timely served with the lawsuit. As long as the case is filed and clocked in prior to the legal deadline expiring, and service of process is made, then the case is safe.
A trial may not begin until well after the two-year period has expired, which is fine so long as the case was filed in time. If a case is not filed in time or if a defendant is not properly sued in time, then there can never be any claim against that party since the statute of limitations is a permanent time bar.
In order to be successful in either settlement negotiations or in court, you must ensure your lawsuit is timely filed and includes all involved parties. In some cases, there may be multiple defendants, which would require them all to be included in the suit.
In a situation where a defendant was employed at the time of the incident, the employer must be identified and included as a defendant. This requires research into the corporate records with the Pennsylvania Department of State Corporations Bureau. This can be a complicated exercise, as some companies have partnerships or affiliations with other entities. It is imperative that the correct entities be identified and sued, for suing the wrong corporate entity can render the lawsuit meaningless in any attempt to collect from the correct entity.
A hardworking attorney in the area could help ensure your civil suit meets the legal requirements so you may seek the compensation you deserve. To learn more about the statute of limitations for car accident claims in Altoona, call the office of Marcus & Mack and schedule a free consultation.