Most personal injury lawsuits in Pennsylvania must be filed within two years of the date of an injury or death. The deadline is clear when an injury's timeline is precise, like a leg fracture from a car accident. Sometimes harm is not manifested immediately, like asbestos injuries from years of unknown exposure to the cancer-causing fibers.
The state's discovery rule allows a date of injury to coincide with a plaintiff's knowledge of harm. In asbestos-related cases, a victim may be diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma long after inhaling asbestos in a workplace. Fortunately, courts acknowledge liability claims for illnesses that hide from view for decades.