wrongful death lawyer San Fernando Valley, CA - Gavel and stethoscope. medical jurisprudence. legal definition of medical malpractice. attorney. common errors doctors, nurses and hospitals make.

Understanding the Statute of Limitations

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

Wrongful Death Lawyer

In civil litigation, plaintiffs have a limited amount of time in which they may initiate a claim. This is true of every type of claim including personal injury. In legal terms, this time frame is known as the statute of limitations. Plaintiffs need to act within the statute of limitations in order to avoid forfeiting their rights.

Retaining a wrongful death lawyer when you are facing complexities that arise during wrongful death cases can benefit you and your loved ones. 

When Does the Statute of Limitations Begin?

In personal injury cases, the statute of limitations usually comes into effect at the time that a plaintiff sustains an injury. However, it is possible that the period will begin at a later time. A plaintiff must be aware of his or her injury in order to have the ability to pursue a legal remedy. Therefore, the period is said to begin when plaintiffs know or reasonably should have known that they sustained an injury. For example, an injury that does not manifest until months after an accident will be actionable starting at the date that the plaintiff is aware of his or her injury.

What Determines How Long the Statute of Limitations Will Last?

Every state has its own laws about the length of the statute of limitations. Some types of actions survive longer than others. The applicable period will depend on the law of the jurisdiction where the plaintiff is bringing his or her claim and the type of claim that he or she is pursuing. Some states afford plaintiffs two years to pursue a remedy and others allow up to six years.

What Types of Claims May Have a Shorter Statute of Limitations?

There may be narrower limitations for claims involving auto accidents. The reason for this difference is that insurers may have independent restrictions on when they will provide coverage for a claim. The statute of limitations may also be narrower for claims based on medical malpractice. This is partly attributable to insurance coverage as well. In addition, there is a public policy interest in requiring that plaintiffs do not make claims against medical care providers long after treatment.

Personal injury claimants need to be aware of the statute of limitations so that they do not miss their opportunity to have their day in court. Moreover, it is generally advisable to initiate claims as soon as reasonably possible, which is a big factor in the reasoning behind codifying time limits. The more time elapses, the harder it is to produce evidence and deliver credible testimony about what transpired. The statute of limitations is meant to serve the interests of both plaintiffs and defendants. 

Thanks to Unidos Legales for their expertise in the area of wrongful death law.