Injured people have more pressing issues in their lives than the passage of days, weeks, months, years. Folks need to realize, however, that if the statute of limitations runs before commencement of your lawsuit subjects the claim to immediate dismissal. You are forever barred from seeking relief in the courts.
So how long do you have to file your lawsuit? For most personal injury cases the statute of limitations is three years, measured from the date of injury.
If a loved one has died as a result of another person’s negligence the limitations period (For wrongful death) is two years.
Determining the statute of limitations in personal injury cases can be difficult. For example, in cases where an injury does not become immediately apparent, the law will sometimes allow use of the date when the injury was discovered as the starting point for the running of the statute of limitations. A good example of this would be a disease that develops years after being exposed to a toxic substance. When the circumstances allow for application of thIs so called “discovery rule” an injured party will generally have an extra year in which to file her claim.
When a minor is injured, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until he turns 18.
As I discussed above, determining the statute of limitations can be a tricky business. The rules are fraught with exceptions and nuance. For this reason I recommend that injured people retain an attorney as soon as possible after the date of injury. This will also permit your attorney to gather relevant medical records and, if necessary hire expert witnesses.
If you have been injured by another person’s negligence, be aware of the passage of time. Remember, the running of the limitations period will result in dismissal of your claim. You will only have one shot at justice. Don’t let the clock run out on you.