If you were hurt in an accident that wasn’t your fault, there’s a time restriction on filing a claim for compensation.
The personal injury claim time limit is called a “statute of limitations,” and every state in the US has one.
The statute of limitations is a critical factor in being able to recover monetary damages for your losses, since your claim is forever barred if you don’t file a lawsuit within the designated time.
A personal injury attorney can explain how the law applies to your case, but some important information should be useful.
Length of the Statute of Limitations
Every state has a different statute of limitations, but the time restriction may range from 1-6 years. The clock starts to run from the day that you were injured, which is often the same date of the accident. However, there are some types of injuries that you may not discover for some time after the act occurred.
For instance, in medical malpractice cases, you may not find out about an injury-causing error until months or years later. Depending on the jurisdiction, the statute of limitations begins to run upon discovery.
Types of Personal Injury Cases Having a Time Limit
The language in each state’s statute of limitations varies, but the law typically applies to any type of personal injury accident based upon negligence or recklessness. Therefore, you need to be aware of the statute of limitations if you were hurt:
- In a car, truck, motorcycle, or other motor vehicle collision;
- In a bicycle or pedestrian accident;
- Because of dangerous conditions on property, commonly known as a slip and fall case;
- Due to a medical error;
- As a result of a defective product; or,
- In any other type of incident caused by someone else’s misconduct.
Exceptions that “Toll” the Statute of Limitations
There are certain circumstances that place a hold on the statute of limitations, which gives you additional time to file a claim. Exceptions to the personal injury claim time limit include cases where:
- The potential defendant fled the state where the accident occurred, essentially preventing you from getting legal service of process;
- You were a minor at the time of the injury, which tolls the statute of limitations until you become an adult with legal capacity to sue;
- You were disabled when you suffered your injuries; or,
- Other exceptions that depend upon the jurisdiction.
Insurance Claims are Separate
You should keep in mind that the statute of limitations only bars you from filing a lawsuit in court once the time period expires. Filing a claim with the responsible party’s insurance company is a separate matter. Still, the expiration of the statute of limitations will be a defense if you eventually do sue for damages.
Don’t Delay in Consulting with a Personal Injury Attorney
The statute of limitations is a strict rule in most states, so you may never be able to recover compensation for your injuries if you don’t take quick action. Your first step should be discussing your circumstances with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Contact an attorney today for more information on your rights and legal remedies.