Legal Guide

The Clock is Ticking: Key Insights on Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

Personal injury statute of limitations refers to the time frame within which a person has to file a lawsuit after being injured due to someone else's negligence or intentional actions. 

The statute of limitations changes from state to state and is dependent on factors like the type of injury and the circumstances of the case.

You should be familiar with these time limits because if a lawsuit is not filed within the statute of limitations, the injured person may lose their right to claim damages for their injuries.

Why Is the Personal Injury of Limitations Statute Important?

The personal injury statute of limitations is important in the legal system for several reasons. They are listed below:

  1. Encouraging Prompt Legal Action

The statute of limitations creates a sense of urgency for injured parties to take legal action promptly, encouraging them to promptly seek medical treatment and gather evidence to support their case.

  1. Protecting Defendants

The statute of limitations helps protect defendants from being sued for events that occurred too long ago, when evidence may be lost or unreliable, and memories may have faded.

  1. Ensuring Fairness and Efficiency in the Legal System

By imposing a time limit on filing lawsuits, the legal system can avoid too old cases and focus on more recent claims. This ensures that the court system is efficient and not bogged down by old cases that may no longer be relevant or fair.

  1. Certainty and Finality

Statutes of limitations provide certainty and finality for both parties. The plaintiff is aware of the time limit within which they must bring a claim, and the defendant can have some certainty that they will not be subject to a lawsuit for events that occurred too long ago.

  1. Promoting Settlement

The statute of limitations can also encourage parties to settle disputes earlier rather than risk losing their right to sue due to the passage of time.

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

The personal injury statute of limitations varies depending on the state and the type of injury. Generally, it starts running from the injury date or discovery date through reasonable diligence. 

In some situations, there are exceptions that you can use in order to file your claim past the time frame, which include:

  • Discovery - The statute of limitations may start running from the day the injury is discovered or should have been discovered through reasonable diligence rather than from the date of the injury.
  • Minors- The time frame may be extended for minors until they reach the age of majority.
  • Incapacitated individuals- The statute of limitations may be extended for incapacitated individuals at the time of the injury until they regain capacity.
  • Medical malpractice- Some states have longer or different statute of limitations periods for medical malpractice cases.
  • Government entities- Some states have special rules for suing government entities, which may involve shorter or longer statute of limitations periods.

Moving Forward

The personal injury statute of limitations is a legal time limit that restricts the time an injured person has to file a lawsuit. It is imperative to familiarize oneself with your state's statute of limitations, as failing to file a claim within the time limit can result in losing your right to seek compensation for your injuries. 

“Consult with a personal injury lawyer immediately after an accident to meet all legal deadlines and protect your rights,” says attorney André Busald of Busald Funk Zevely.

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