If you or someone you love has been injured because of the actions or negligence of another, you may wonder how long you have to file a personal injury suit. After all, some injuries may not be immediately apparent. What if it takes several years to realize the full impact of the injury?

Both New Jersey and Pennsylvania have a personal injury statute of limitation, which is, simply, the time period within which you can bring a lawsuit for personal injuries. For both states, the statute of limitation is two years. In other words, if an adult is injured in an accident caused by another, he or she has two years to file a lawsuit.

But what if the injured party is a child? In that situation, the statute of limitations works differently. For children in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations begins once the child reaches the age of majority, or the age of 18.

Let’s say a child is injured at the age of 4, in an automobile accident caused by another party. The parents may maintain a claim of action or file a suit within a two-year time period if they want to, but they don’t have to. Instead, the child’s parents have two years after the child reaches that age of 18—or until the child is 20—to file a claim.

When does it make the most sense to file a claim? The answer to that question is very dependent upon your personal circumstances. In some cases it makes sense to act right away, in other situations it makes sense to wait. Be sure to review the statute of limitations with your attorney, who can help you make your decision.