How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

If you’ve been injured in an accident that is due to the negligence of another person, you may be thinking about suing the person or business. In almost every case, there is a statute of limitations that applies. That means that you have a specific time frame to bring the case to the court system. State laws determine that time frame, but generally it’s anywhere from one to six years. Here’s what you should know about statute of limitations.

Exemptions to the Standard Statute of Limitations 

Statutes of limitations generally begin on the date of the injury. If you are in a car accident and want to sue the other driver, you would need to file your case within the statue of limitations as determined by your state. In some states, the type of claim you’re making may change the time frame. Some types of cases may have shorter or even longer deadlines.

There are some exceptions to the strict date of accident rule. In many states, there is a discovery rule. This means that the statute of limitations doesn’t begin until you discover the problem. For example, you’ve been sick, and it is discovered that the cause is a medication error. The timeline probably wouldn’t begin until the error is discovered, not from the date you started taking that medication. But it’s always best to discuss your situation with a personal injury lawyer who can work through the legal rules of your state.

Other exemptions may apply to military service people who are stationed overseas or move out of state.

When the injured is a minor, the statute of limitations may not begin until the child turns 18. Some states have exemptions to the statute of limitations rules for the disabled and mentally ill.

Don’t Wait to Discuss Your Case With a Lawyer 

If you file a personal injury lawsuit outside of the statute of limitations, it will almost certainly be dismissed. Once you are injured through the actions of others, you should discuss your situation with an attorney to understand how the statute of limitations applies to your case. There may be ways to protect your rights to file a lawsuit to receive compensation for your injuries.

Make an appointment to talk to an attorney who can advise you on the best steps to take to avoid missing the statute of limitations. Filing a lawsuit does not mean that you will have to fight it out in court. Your personal injury lawyer in Canoga Park, CA, such as from Unidos Legales, may be able to negotiate a settlement.