How long you have to file a personal injury case depends on a lot of factors.
Statute of Limitations: Each state has a statute of limitations, or a deadline, for bringing a personal injury lawsuit. The window of time within which you can file a claim against a negligent party generally begins running on the day that the injury occurred.
It is important to remember that there are a lot of factors that go into the statute of limitations analysis. Where you reside, where the defendant resides, and where the cause of action occurred are some of them. The time limit might be as brief as one year, to as long as six years depending on the state.
Discovery Rule: Another consideration is that in some states the statute of limitations includes a “discovery rule.” Sometimes an injury victim will not discover their injuries until months or even years after they were initially injured. The victim may also not realize that the defendant’s actions were the cause of the injury.
In these cases, a discovery rule provides that the statute of limitations would be tolled, or extended, until you learn about the facts, or should have reasonably learned about the facts giving rise to your claim.
An example might be that you had been exposed to silica dust for years at your job site, but you were unaware of this exposure, or unaware that it was causing you injury. In this case, under a discovery rule, the statute of limitations would begin to count down on the day that you are diagnosed with having silicosis which was caused by exposure to silica dust at the factory where you work.
Time Limits to File a Personal Injury Case
If you believe you have a lawsuit, the safest approach is to contact an attorney immediately. If you think your statute of limitations may have expired with regards to a personal injury claim, don’t be discouraged.
Discovery rules in some states provide assistance to plaintiffs trying to pursue causes of action in this regard. Even so, a discovery rule exception is not open-ended. It is always important to act promptly to ensure you protect your rights to full and fair compensation.
Fill out a free claim evaluation or call us at 1-800-277-0300 to get started.