Every single state in the US maintains a statute of limitations for personal injury legal claims. The statute dictates the maximum time you can wait between the date of the incident and filing your claim with the appropriate court. Even if you have a great case with plenty of evidence to support your claim, you won’t even have a chance if you don’t file before the deadline.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
Since each state creates its own laws regarding the statute of limitations for personal injury claims, you should consult with a legal professional or check your state government’s official website. The applicable statute for your claim depends on where you live and where the incident, if any, took place. Contact a professional lawyer if you are unsure which state’s limitations apply to your lawsuit.
There is a wide discrepancy in the length of statutes in various states, ranging from 1 to 10 years. Only a few states, including Kentucky and Louisiana, allow only one year to file your personal injury claim. The majority of states allow 2 to 3 years between the date of the incident and initial filing for the case, while those living in the state of Oregon can wait up to 10 years before filing a personal injury claim.
Is There Any Exception to The Statute?
Even an air tight case can be dismissed based on the fact that it was filed after the deadline imposed by the local statute of limitations. Anyone involved in an accident or other situation involving personal injury should contact an attorney as soon as possible, even if you aren’t sure if you are going to file a claim.
Even though many cases that violate the statute are summarily dismissed by courts, this is not always the case. There are some rare exceptions to the limitations imposed by the law when it comes to personal injury. However, you should never rely on an exception to file a late claim.
Some states allow for “discovery exceptions” that allow claimants to file past the standard deadline if they were either not aware they were injured or did not know that the incident was eligible for a personal injury lawsuit. For example, an individual who was unknowingly exposed to a toxic substance may qualify for the exception if they discover this fact following a medical diagnosis years later.
In some cases, states also pause the ticking clock imposed by the statute of limitations if the defendant of the claim left the state after the incident. Taking advantage of any kind of exception to the statute can be a daunting task without expert legal assistance to help you navigate. A professional firm like the Lamber Goodnow legal team, together with its co-counsel firms in Chicago, can provide you with the information you need to make a smart decision regarding your financial future.
How Do I Avoid Losing my Right to File a Claim?
The best way to keep you legal options open is to file a personal injury claim before the deadline imposed by your state’s law. It’s always a good idea to talk to a lawyer after any incident where you or a family member were injured due to the actions or negligence of another party. There are many types of incidents that qualify for personal injury claims, including vehicle collisions, product defects and workplace accidents.
Talk to a reliable and licensed attorney as soon as you can following the injury to discuss your options. At the very least, you should gather recorded testimony and evidence in case you need them as evidence in court. Don’t forget to ask your lawyer about applicable statute of limitation laws so you can file your case on time.
The Lamber Goodnow legal team, and its partner personal injury law firms, are experienced in these matters. Our Chicago personal injury lawyers never charge a fee, unless we win your case. Get a risk free consultation today.