Understanding the Statute of Limitations in You Personal Injury Case

  • By:David Bate

Perhaps one of the most important elements to a personal injury case is ensuring that you file your claim within the appropriate timeframes based on where you live. The initial days and even months following your accident can feel like a whirlwind. However, taking the time to gather as much evidence in the early days can help you in the long run if you decide to take legal action or file a claim down the road. When faced with an injury, it’s important that you have an understanding of the statute of limitations, the exceptions to the rule, and how the statute of limitations is managed for a minor.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is the length of time you have to file a personal injury claim. This is a key element to a successful personal injury case. In almost all situations, failing to take action within the appropriate time frame is likely to result in a case that is no longer valid. The length of time in which you have to file a claim varies depending on where you live, generally the span is about 1-6 years. On average in most states, you have about 2 years to file a claim. Although there are exceptions, the clock starts ticking the date that you were injured.  

Exceptions to the Rule

Depending on your specific situation, there can be some exceptions to the statute of limitations. Some of these exceptions may result in an extension in your ability to file a claim. If you believe you fall under one of these rules, it will be key to speak with an attorney.

  1. The Discovery Rule: The timeframe may be extended under the discovery rule if you were unaware of the injury you sustained for a period of time. Another reason may have been that you were unaware that the injury you suffered was the result of the accident imposed by the person responsible.
  2. The Defendant Fled the State: If the person who caused the accident left the state, depending on where you live, the timeframe may be extended by the period of time they were gone for.
  3. Minors: If the person injured was under the age of 18 at the time of the accident, the statute of limitations does not begin until they reach the age of 18.
  4. Mental Illness or Disability: If a person was incapacitated from the accident, the clock may be extended.

Details of the statute of limitations can quickly become complicated. Sometimes, timeframes may change based on the specifics to your case. Some personal injury cases may even have different timeframes than the standard, depending. Consulting with an attorney may be in your best interest when determining the length of time you have to take action.

Failure to file your case within the timeframes that are in accordance with your state, may completely void your claim. Speak with a personal injury attorney Dekalb County, GA relies on if you are facing a personal injury. They may prove to be particularly useful in not only determining if you have a strong personal injury case, but also ensuring that you have taken action within the statute of limitations.



Thank you to our friends and contributors at Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into statute of limitations and personal injury.

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