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PA Statute of Limitations

You may think that if you were the victim of someone else’s actions, you’d be swift in taking them to court. However, this isn’t always the case. For one thing, you may not actually know who was responsible for an accident or injury. If you were hurt, your main concern may be looking after your health in the immediate future. There are all kinds of circumstances that could delay you from doing the obvious. That being said, it’s vital that you speak with a Pennsylvania attorney ASAP in the wake of being victimized. The clock on the statute of limitations is ticking as soon as the event occurs.

What Are Statutes of Limitations?

Simply put, the statues of limitations describe how long you have to bring charges or a claim against someone who has victimized you. Each crime has their own statute of limitations, though they are the same for many of them. The idea is that they keep someone from being charged with a crime or sued for a wrongdoing long after the incident is supposed to have happened. If you rear-end someone, the justice system says the other driver can’t wait 30 years to bring you to court.

Not all crimes have statutes of limitations though. We’ll cover that in more detail below, but sufficed to say, someone could never admit to murder feeling secure that time had run out to commence legal proceedings against them.

Civil Statutes of Limitations

Let’s begin by looking at the statute of limitations where civil offences are concerned. Below are the ones where the statute of limitations is just a year:

  • Libel
  • Slander

Next are those with a statute of limitations of two years:

  • Assault and Battery
  • False Imprisonment
  • Fraud
  • Legal Malpractice
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Personal Injury
  • Product Liability
  • Property Damage
  • Trespass
  • Wrongful Death

Finally, the following civil offenses have a statute of limitations of four years:

  • Breach of Written Contract
  • Breach of Non-Written Contract
  • Enforcing Court Judgments

Contacting an Attorney Immediately

Although it may seem like you have lots of time to file suit against someone, you need to think about how long it can take to gather evidence and put such a claim together. This is why you must speak with an attorney ASAP. If they try putting forth a claim with insubstantial evidence, it will be denied.

Criminal Offenses

Criminal offenses also have statutes of limitations, though, as we mentioned above, not all of them do. Also, it’s not up to you to bring criminal charges against someone. This is why you should speak to the authorities as soon as you can after a crime, just like you would with an attorney in a civil case. Putting together a case may take them a long time and you don’t want the statutes of limitations to expire. If they do or if the prosecutor simply decides it’s not possible to charge the perpetrator, you may be able to bring them up on civil charges.

Below are those crimes with a two year statute of limitations:

  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Involuntary Manslaughter
  • Receiving Stolen Property

The following are crimes with a five year statute of limitations:

  • Arson
  • Assault and Battery (depending on the case, it may only be two)
  • Burglary
  • Kidnapping
  • Robbery
  • Theft

You can be charged with rape 12 years after the alleged incident. First degree murder, second degree murder and voluntary manslaughter have no statute of limitations.

Don’t let too much time elapse after an offense before speaking with an attorney or the police. Don’t forget that legal proceedings have to begin with the statute of limitations or no charges or lawsuits can be brought against the alleged offender.