About 95% of civil litigation claims get settled before making it to trial. This includes personal injury claims. If you have a claim for injury, you need to make sure you file before the personal injury statute of limitations so you have an opportunity to recover for your injuries.
Each state has its own deadline for filing a lawsuit. This is the length of time you have to file your claim, or you’re barred from seeking recovery.
Keep reading to learn more about the statute of limitations for personal injury claims.
Standard Statute of Limitations
Some states have a filing limit of as short as one year, while others have a deadline of three years or more. The exact amount of time will depend on the state you’re filing in.
You can’t choose any state to file in. There are rules about where you’re allowed to file, such as the state you were injured in or the state where the defendant resides. You need to look into these rules to know what state’s statute of limitations applies to your claim.
The statute of limitations clock starts from the day that you experience the injury.
The Discovery Rule Exception
This is an exception to the statute of limitations deadline. Most states have an exception that applies to when you aren’t aware of the injury.
For this exception to apply, the injured person needs to not have known either that they were injured or that the defendant’s actions could have caused an injury. Awareness of the injury or potential for an injury needs to occur after the statute of limitations runs out.
So if you become aware of the injury or potential for injury before the expiration of the original deadline, then the statute of limitations applies.
This situation happens more often than you might think. An example of this is the injury ads you may have seen on tv. They state that you may have been exposed to a potentially injury-causing situation at some point in the past.
They then encourage you to seek out a personal injury attorney for legal representation. The injury is usually caused by exposure to harmful chemicals or a malfunctioning medical device.
Other Ways to Extend the Filing Deadline
Several states offer other exceptions to the deadline for filing. Some states stop the clock if the defendant leaves the state. Then resumes the countdown when the defendant returns.
For this exception to apply, you’ll need to prove that the defendant was gone. It’s best to work with an attorney if you want to apply for this exception.
Another exception is if the injured party is a minor, mentally ill, disabled, or insane. The statute of limitations gets extended for these plaintiffs.
Know the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations for Your State
If you’ve experienced an injury, then you need to find out the personal injury statute of limitations for your state. The sooner you seek out legal representation, the better. Your attorney can advise you on the specific laws of your state.
Check out our blog for more law-related articles that can answer all of your legal questions.