IS THERE A DEADLINE TO FILE A PERSONAL INJURY LAWSUIT?
If you believe you have a valid personal injury claim, it's important that you pay attention to the deadline for filing it. This deadline is called the Statute of Limitations, and it often differs from state to state, so be sure to know the laws for your area. This will keep you from missing your chance to take legal action.
WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS?
The statute of limitations sets strict deadlines for the filing of certain kinds of lawsuits in the state's civil court system. Every state has one and most have specific rulings which apply to personal injury claims specifically. For example, in Nevada, the statute of limitation on legal action related to personal injury is two years. In most cases, the statute of limitations begins running on the day you were injured.
EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE
While there are exceptions to the statute of limitations, they are relatively rare. However, most states do have some form of 'Discovery Rule' which extends the filing deadline in cases where an individual did not know or had no reasonable basis for knowing that they'd suffered an injury, or that the defendant's actions may have caused said injury.
This discovery rule exception isn't as uncommon as you may think either. One good example is any case involving mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer that only occurs with exposure to asbestos. In many of these cases, the initial injury/exposure happened around 20 years before the lawsuit was filed. The case was allowed to be heard however due to the discovery rule exception to the statute of limitations.
WORKING WITH A LAW FIRM
If you believe you may have cause for filing a personal injury lawsuit, it's always best to work with a trusted, established law firm in order to give your case the best chance of success. Choosing law firm to work with can be a long process, so it's best to start searching as soon as you know you intend to file, to give yourself the most time to make an informed decision. Look into the statute of limitations for your state regarding personal injury lawsuits and use that to help determine your timeline, keeping in mind that some court proceedings can take months.