What is a Statute of Limitations?


When you’ve been injured in a car accident, slip and fall, or any other incident that could qualify as personal injury, you’re entitled to file a personal injury claim. Personal injury compensation is useful as it helps victims recover their medical costs, lost wages, and cost of property damage. Some personal injury claims may also include compensation for emotional stress and pain.

If you are injured, you need to pay attention to the statute of limitations. Every state sets a particular time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit in court. The statute of limitations is a strict deadline. If you don’t file a lawsuit within the specific time limit, your case may get dismissed.



Statute of Limitations in Personal Injury Lawsuits

In personal injury lawsuits, statute of limitations may vary from one to six years. For instance, if you live in a state where the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is one year, you will be eligible to file a lawsuit within a year from the day of accident.


Exceptions to Statute of Limitations

In most states, there’s a ‘discovery rule’ exception to the statute of limitations. The rule extends the deadline when the victim did not know about the injury or did not realize that the potential defendant’s actions may have caused the injury. For instance, the insulation in the pipes of your basement may have exposed you to lead and, almost 10 years later, you may have developed a certain type of lung cancer. In this case, though the regular statute of limitations may have expired, you may still file a claim against the person or entity that was responsible for your condition.

No matter what statement you present, make sure that it’s validated by proper documentation. For example, you may present a medical report stating that the specific type of cancer you are suffering from occurs only due to prolonged exposure to lead. The statute of limitations would start from the day your doctor informs you that your lung cancer was caused by lead exposure.


Other Instances When the Statute of Limitations May Be Extended

If the defendant leaves the state after the accident, the statute of limitations stops running for the duration s/he remains outside the state. For instance, if the statute of limitations in a state is three years, and the accused was outside for one year, the statute of limitations will be extended by a year.

Another exception is if the victim is a minor, mentally ill, or disabled. In such situations, states allow extensions to the statute of limitations.



Why Seeking the Assistance of an Attorney is Important

If you believe you are eligible to file a claim, get in touch with a personal injury lawyer instantly to understand your specific legal rights and also ensure that you don’t miss the statute of limitations in your state.