How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim?

Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims

Every state in the U.S. has its own unique statute of limitations even though many of them are similar to one another. If you have a personal injury claim, it is important to find out your state’s exact rules and regulations for filing your claim in the amount of time that your state allows before it becomes invalid. Only lawyers who are licensed in the U.S. are qualified to give legal advice. If you need to find out how long you have to file a personal injury claim, it may be in your best interest to contact a licensed lawyer as soon as you can.

Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations is legislation that sets a timeframe, or a limitation period, within which affected parties must take action before it is outside the timeframe, or too late, to enforce their rights by seeking redress from the party or parties that caused them injury and/or property damage. The time frame for this period differs according to the nature of the case and the state that the claim is filed in. All states have their own, strict deadlines for filing lawsuits.

The purpose of a statute of limitations is to encourage diligent prosecution of an offense while evidence is fresh, valid and available. It is intended that this will ensure finality and predictability in litigation.

Typically, there are not statute of limitations for cases involving fraud and murder. There have been situations in the past decades that have warranted courts changing or making allowances for the statute of limitations for certain offenses. An example of this is, some states are now allowing for adults who were victims of sexual abuse as children and whose claims would fall outside of the statute of limitations given the length of time since the abuse, to be allowed to file personal injury claims for what happened to them as children.

Unless recent allowances or changes have been made to a particular statute of limitations for a particular kind of claim, if a lawsuit is not filed within the timeframe that is allowed, it is likely that the case will be dismissed.

If you are thinking of filing a personal injury or other claim, it is important to find out what your state allows and does not allow for this process. Most states consider that an injury victim’s statute of limitations begins on the day the victim was injured, or on the day the victim became aware of their injury in the event they did not suffer any immediate and noticeable harm.

An example of this is if a patient takes a medication that is prescribed by their doctor and finds out years later that it did irreversible damage to an organ and they had not been warned about the risks, they may be allowed to file a personal injury claim even though it technically falls outside of the statute of limitations.

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