The impact of a serious injury can linger for many years after the accident occurred. However, there is a limit to how long you (the victim) have to seek compensation. Thus, if you were injured and believe that you’re eligible for a personal injury claim, you should pay attention to the statute of limitations. This is a state law that sets time limits on the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit.
What’s the statute of limitations?
Each state has a particular deadline for filing personal injury lawsuits. If for whatever reason you haven’t filed a lawsuit for your personal injury claim and the statute of limitation has expired, the chances are that you’re your case will be dismissed.
Depending on your state, the statute the statute of limitations associated with personal injury lawsuits ranges between one year and six years. For example, if you live in a state with a four-year statute of limitations for any personal injury case, you have up to four years from the fateful day of the accident to file a lawsuit. Therefore, it’s wise to learn more about your state’s statute of limitations in personal injury law to avoid your case getting dismissed in the court.
There are a few exceptions that can allow you to file a personal injury lawsuit after the standard statute of limitations and still get considered. Many states have set some form of a discovery rule to the statute of limitations. The discovery rule extends the lawsuit filing deadline even after the statute of limitations expired under the following situations.
- The injured person wasn’t aware that he or she was hurt
- The victim didn’t know that the defendant’s actions may have been the cause of the injury.
There are other instances where the statute of limitations is extended. If the defendant fled the state after the accident, the statute of limitations stops while the defendant is outside the state. That means if the statute of limitations in your state is four years and the defendant has been away for three years, the time limits associated with your case will be extended by three years.
However, it’s difficult to prove that someone fled the state or country after the accident. Therefore, you shouldn’t count the extension of the statute of limitations applicable to your case unless you have been guided by a competent personal injury attorney. In case the plaintiff is disabled, insane, minor (under 18 years), or mentally ill, the statute of limitations may also be extended. Many states allow an extension of the statute of limitations involving these cases.
It’s worth mentioning that the defendant will also be fighting for his or her rights and a chance to win the case. If you were involved in an accident and you believe you can file a personal injury lawsuit, you should find a qualified attorney. The expert will help you understand your rights and ensure that you don’t miss the statute of limitations.