Vehicle Accident Attorney in Pennsylvania
When you’re injured by a drunk driver in a vehicle accident, you have a limited amount of time to file a claim for compensation. This time limit is called the statute of limitations. Our vehicle accident attorney in Pennsylvania, Gregg Durlofsky, explains what you need to know about the statute of limitations for drunk driving.
What do I need to know about the statute of limitations?
The statute of limitations for drunk driving in Pennsylvania is two years. Under criminal law 42 Pa. C.S. § 5552, the state has two years to file criminal charges against the offender. The same two-year time limit applies to the individual who brings their own civil legal claim for compensation, under 42 Pa. C.S. § 5524. Whether the claim is criminal or civil in nature, the entity filing a claim relating to drunk driving must initiate it before two years has passed from the date of the crash.
What does the civil statute of limitations for drunk driving in Pennsylvania mean?
First, as a drunk driving victim, it’s important to understand that there is a statute of limitations. The law creates a timeline for victims to bring their claims after an accident. Even with a strong case, missing the deadline means the responsible party can have their case dismissed with a simple court motion.
Second, remember that the civil statute of limitations applies even if there is a criminal matter. It can be tempting to want the criminal matter to fully resolve before starting your criminal case. After all, the proceedings may produce evidence and result in questioning of witnesses under oath. However, your personal injury attorney must at least file your case by the expiration of the two-year deadline. Without a specific court order for a stay of proceedings, the civil claim cannot wait until the criminal case is complete.
Third, know that the statute of limitations applies to the first case filing documents. It’s possible for the case to continue beyond two years from the date of the accident. Do not be deterred from bringing your claim if you’re approaching the statute of limitations. However, be aware that your filing documents must be received by the court by the last day before the deadline.
How can I meet the statute of limitations in a drunk driving civil case?
To meet the statute of limitations in a drunk driving civil case, a personal injury law firm can assist you with filing a summons and complaint in the appropriate court. The victim must file their documents in the appropriate court considering jurisdiction and venue. The complaint briefly states the facts and your injuries. It states that you are claiming damages.
Contact Durlofsky Law Offices
Working with a personal injury law firm, you can ensure that you aren’t distracted by criminal proceedings or delays from the insurance company that may cause you to miss the deadline. Your vehicle accident attorney in Pennsylvania can ensure that your right to a civil claim is protected. They know how to optimize legal proceedings to assert your rights, streamline your case and claim the compensation that you deserve. Contact us today.