In the case of a personal injury claim, you may want to take your specific state’s statute of limitations into consideration. What is a statute of limitation in a state? This is a state law that is known to set a strict time limit on filing a personal injury lawsuit through a court. All states have these specific deadlines and if that deadline expires, your lawsuit will be dismissed in almost every case. There are very limited exceptions on a statute of limitations being extended for any person or any case and one should never count on them applying to their case. If you were injured, the statute of limitations usually begins running on the day that you were injured.
How can my claim affect the time limit?
In some states, your specific type of personal injury claim may affect the given time limit. One example might be a defamation case or one that includes involvement of a minor. These people may be granted longer time limits; meanwhile, medical malpractice statutes of limitations may grant shorter time limits. Statute of limitations for injuries sustained by a minor does not typically begin to run until the minor reaches the age of 18.
Discovery of Harm
Furthermore, there is a “Discovery of Harm” rule in many states. A statute of limitations generally declares that a personal injury lawsuit must be filed within a certain amount of time after an accident or injury. However, that time period normally does not begin to run until the moment when the person filing suit knew that they had suffered any harm and the extent of their harm. An example could be somebody in the medical field making a mistake and the error not being discovered in the patient until years later, during another surgical procedure. In a case like this, the patient would not know what happened and the lack of knowledge could not be called unreasonable under the given circumstances. In most states, the statute of limitations would not begin until the day on which the mistake was discovered within the patient, rather than from the day in which the mistake was initially made.
As mentioned, time limits vary from state to state. Every state has its own laws that dictate the statute of limitations necessary. In California and Texas alike, for example, the time limit is two years. In places like New York, it is three years. Florida allows four years. One must ask about their specific state and the statute of limitations given within it.
One thing that people filing an accident or injury claim must also consider is the fact that the statute of limitations is merely a deadline for getting a case started in the court system, and not a limit for the case to be resolved before the deadline. If you are anywhere close to the filing deadline as set out in your specific state laws, but injury settlements are still taking place, it’s a good idea to file the lawsuit anyway to protect your potential rights. Speak to your attorney at WTW to get a good idea of your rights and where you may stand in your case. You can speak about the specific statute of limitations for California and where to move next.