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Pennsylvania Civil Statute of Limitations Laws

That fender bender on the Schuylkill Expressway was 2 weeks ago and that soreness in your neck still isn’t gone. Or maybe, almost a year later, you realize the repair shop didn’t properly fix your car. Do you have a civil lawsuit? And is it too late to file? There are limits on how long after an incident you may sue someone. Here is a brief summary of civil statute of limitation laws in Pennsylvania.

Civil Statutes of Limitation

There are time limits for filing a civil lawsuit, referred to as the statute of limitations. These limits are meant to ensure that potential plaintiffs can't threaten lawsuits indefinitely, and to protect the integrity of evidence (including eyewitness testimony). Similar to other states’ statute of limitations laws, Pennsylvania imposes a two-year limit on personal injury, trespass, and fraud claims. Generally, the clock will start ticking on the date of the incident or discovery of the wrong.

Statutes of Limitation in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania's civil statute of limitations laws are explained in the following chart.

Injury to Person

2 yrs. Tit. 42§5524(1)

Libel/Slander

1 yr. Tit. 42§5523(1)

Fraud

2 yrs. Tit. 42§5524(7)

Injury to Personal Property

2 yrs. Tit. 42§5524(3)

Professional Malpractice

2 yrs. Tit. 42 §5524(7), (8)

Trespass

2 yrs. Tit. 42 §5524(4)

Collection of Rents

21 yrs. Tit. 42§5530(2)

Contracts

Written: 20 yrs. under seal; 4 years other Tit. 42 §5529(b); 5525(8); Oral: 4 yrs. Tit. 42§5525(3)

Collection of Debt on Account

2 yrs. Tit. 42§5524

Judgments

4 yrs. Tit. 42 §5525(5)

Statute of limitations laws are intended to create general practicality and fairness when filing lawsuits. It is never fair to have an unfinished legal matter hanging over one's head indefinitely. Therefore, limitations laws try to create a definite end to a legal conflict so both parties involved may move on with their lives. Statutes of limitation ensure an offending party in a legal dispute is made aware that he or she committed or may be accused of committing some wrong against another party. On the other hand, the wronged party must choose whether or not to press a lawsuit in order to recover for the wrong.

Related Resources for Civil Statute of Limitations Laws

Even if you have a valid legal claim, if you don’t file on time, it may not matter. If you’d like to continue your legal research in this area of law, you can visit FindLaw’s statute of limitations section. You can also contact a Pennsylvania personal injury attorney if you would like legal assistance with your case.

Free Pennsylvania Case Review

Pennsylvania's civil statute of limitations often depend on the nature of the claim being filed. Whether contract dispute or collection of back rent, personal injury or medical malpractice, time is of the essence. If you've been injured or have a legal matter, you should contact a Pennsylvania injury attorney for claim evaluation at no charge.

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