Understanding the Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Claims

In Uncategorized by Garrett, Walker, Aycoth & Olson, Attorneys at Law

A statute of limitations represents the amount of time the law has to hold someone accountable for past actions. In the case of personal injury claims, it is also representative of the time a victim has to file suit. 

A lawsuit is often uncomfortable for both parties. The defendant is anxious about the potential liability and penalties; the plaintiff is worried the evidence will not be enough to convince a judge, jury, or opposing counsel. The worry on behalf of the plaintiff can often result in hesitation. Failing to act promptly can result in an inability to act before the statute of limitations is reached.

How Much Time Do You Have?

In most states, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years. However, depending on location and specific circumstances, your timeline might be different. In general, an adult has two years from the date of the accident to file a claim or lawsuit. The statute does not require that a trial be completed or even underway at the end of the two years.

Therefore, a victim of an accident can use the time to have their injuries assessed and rehabilitation plans discussed. There is no need to wait until a full recovery to sue an at-fault party. 

Exceptions to the Statute

The two-year timeline is standard, but there are occasions when a victim might have less or more time. If you are in an accident while riding public transportation or on government property, you might only have three months to file a claim.

If you were a minor at the time of the accident, you would probably have two years plus, depending on your age. For example, a 14 year old will have approximately six years — four years until their eighteenth birthday, and two years for the statute.

If a victim is incapacitated, a judge may grant an extension on the statute. However, the court will more likely permit a member of the victim’s family to sue on their behalf.

Importance of a Statute

The law is meant to remain fair for everyone, even at-fault parties. Therefore, a statute is put in place to prevent unfair persecution, meaning it can be perceived as unfair for an at-fault party to fear repercussions for their entire lives. Are you considering filing a personal injury claim? If so, a personal injury lawyer like our friends from David & Philpot, P.L. cam help with your claim.