Is There a Deadline To File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Personal Injury Lawyer

If you were injured in an accident as a result of the negligent activities of others, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible parties. However, there is a time limit for when you can file, called the statute of limitations. Failing to meet the deadline can mean that you will lose the opportunity to request damages for your injuries in court.  

When Does the Clock Start?

Typically, you will calculate the statute of limitations start date by first determining the date of the accident that caused the injury and triggered the lawsuit. However, sometimes you can get in an accident and not realize that you were harmed until some time has passed. In those cases, the clock for your statute of limitations will not start on the date of your accident. Instead, it will be calculated starting on the date you realized you were injured. In some states, the statute of limitations is determined by the date you should have realized that you were injured. 

Do All States Follow the Same Statutes of Limitations?

Personal injury statutes of limitations vary widely by state. For example, Kentucky, Louisiana and Tennessee have a time limit of one year, while Maine and North Dakota have a deadline of 6 years. Also, the time limitation may be influenced by the cause of personal injury. For example, you have a two-year limit to file a personal injury lawsuit in Colorado unless the injury stemmed from a car accident, which allows a three-year time limit. 

Are There Exceptions to Deadlines?

In each state, there are special circumstances that can extend the deadline to file a personal injury case. These exceptions typically occur when the injured person was a minor or was mentally incapacitated at the time of the accident. As a personal injury lawyer can explain, the deadline may also change if the person you are suing left the state following the accident.

Does the Statute of Limitations Influence Insurance Claims?

While the statute of limitations applies to when you must file a lawsuit, your insurance company has its own regulations on insurance claims deadlines. Most personal injury cases will settle out of court, but it is still important that you understand the statute of limitations deadline so that you have enough time to file a lawsuit if you cannot reach a settlement. 

If you or a loved one was injured in an accident, contact a personal injury attorney today. Legal professionals have the resources you need to help you seek damages for your claims.