How Long After a Workplace Injury Can You Sue in Pennsylvania?


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Workplace injuries can range from mild to debilitating. In either case, it is important to know your rights as a worker, and the correct steps to take to get adequate compensation for your injury. If you have suffered a workplace injury in the state of Pennsylvania, there are a few workplace injury laws to be aware of, as they will likely come into play in your case. These laws are complex, so it is best to seek the help of an experienced attorney if you think you may have a case. 

What Pennsylvania Laws to Be Aware Of and How They Will Affect You

Under Pennsylvania law, workers are not typically allowed to file lawsuits against their employers for workplace injuries due to the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. However, there are certain situations in which a lawsuit may still be brought. These include:

When your injury is the result of a defective product: In this case, you may be able to file what is known as a products liability action against the manufacturer of the product. There are three categories under which these cases typically fall.

  1. Defective Design: When a flaw in the design of a product makes it unsafe
  2. Lack of Warning: When the manufacturer fails to warn the user about the dangers of the product
  3. Manufacturing Defect: When the product causes an injury as a result of the way it was made

When you are injured by the actions of a third party: There are several types of workplace injuries that may qualify for a third-party liability claim. Some of these include construction accidents, factory accidents, car and truck accidents, slip and fall accidents, and industrial site accidents.

When you are injured by toxic materials or substances: In this case, you may be able to file what is known as a toxic tort lawsuit against the manufacturer of the material or substance.

When you are injured as a result of egregious or intentional conduct by your employer: In order to file this type of lawsuit the employee must be able to prove that the employer engaged in particularly egregious conduct. This could include misrepresentation, misleading federal or state investigators, or fraud.

It is important to keep in mind that each of these exceptions are highly fact intensive, and can be very difficult to prove legally without the assistance of an experienced workplace injury attorney.

How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date of injury, or from the date that the injured party should have reasonably become aware of their injury.

Are There Any Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations in Pennsylvania?

There are a few exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations. If your workplace injury falls into any of the following categories, you may still be able to file a claim.

  1. Discovery Rule: The Discovery Rule applies when the worker does not immediately realize they are injured. In some cases the injuries do not become apparent for some time after the accident. In these cases, the limitations are tolled until the time when the worker should have reasonably discovered their injuries.
  2. Fraudulent Conduct or Concealment:  The limitations may be tolled if there is sufficient evidence that the employer engaged in fraudulent conduct or concealment.
  3. Minor’s Exception: In cases in which the injured party is a minor, the limitations may be tolled until the minor turns 18. At that point, the injured has two years to file a personal injury lawsuit.

What Kind of Compensation Should I Expect?

Compensation for personal injury lawsuits varies greatly from compensation from workers’ compensation claims. In addition to being compensated for total medical expenses and wage losses, the employee’s pain and suffering is calculated into the total injury compensation. Also unlike workers’ compensation claims, you may receive less compensation if you are found to be partially responsible for your workplace injury. While some states place limitations on the amount of damages that can be awarded in a personal injury lawsuit, Pennsylvania law prohibits any such limitations in cases involving personal injury.

Ross Feller Casey is the recognized leader in workplace injury lawsuits in Pennsylvania. At Ross Feller Casey, our goal is to help you procure the maximum benefits for your workplace injury. In addition to ensuring you stay within all time limitations, we pursue fair treatment from the responsible party, as well as your insurer. Contact us today for your free consultation.

Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.