January 21, 2022
Car Accident Lawyer
Personal injury cases encompass a wide range of situations. The two most common types of personal injury lawsuits are related to medical malpractice or workplace injuries, but car accidents, being hurt on someone else’s property, or wrongful death lawsuits are also common. While these lawsuits are common, they do have rules to follow. One such rule is the statute of limitations.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations refers to the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit after you are injured. The deadline is strict with very few exceptions. If you try to file a lawsuit after the deadline to do so has passed, your case will be dismissed. The statute of limitations on a personal injury case starts the clock on the day you were injured.
How Long Do I Have To File a Lawsuit?
Each state sets its own laws for the statute of limitations, so the amount of time you have will depend on where you were injured. For example, if you were injured in Kentucky or Louisiana, you would only have one year to file your claim. In Maine, you’d have six years. Some states even make separate rules for different types of injuries. In Colorado, you have two years, unless your injury was due to a car accident; in that case, you have three.
Are There Exceptions to the Statutes?
There are rare exceptions to the statute of limitations in any state. Most states do have a “discovery rule,” though. This exception extends the filing deadline in the case that the injured person had a reasonable basis for not knowing that he or she was injured or for not realizing that the potential defendant was at fault. If you’ve ever heard the commercials about developing mesothelioma, that is an example of the discovery rule. Most of the plaintiffs in these cases had no reasonable way of knowing they’d been exposed to asbestos two or more decades ago.
There are rare cases where other exceptions apply. If the defendant in your case leaves the state after causing the accident, most states will “pause the clock” on the statute. There may also be special guidelines if the injured person was mentally ill, disabled, or a minor. Because exceptions are so rare, it is a good idea to call a personal injury lawyer as soon as you suspect you may have a case.
If you suspect that you have a personal injury lawsuit on your hands, or if you’ve tried to get compensation from the at-fault insurance company without success, contact a personal injury attorney for assistance.