Notice and Filing Deadlines for Personal Injury Cases
The law does not like looking too far back into the past to come to a decision. Evidence and memories will only get less reliable as time goes on, so statutes of limitations exist to prevent people from creating lawsuits and claims too far after the contested event took place. While statutes of limitations create notice and filing deadlines for virtually all matters controlled by the law, they are arguably the most crucial when it comes to personal injury claims.
For most personal injury cases in most states, the statute of limitations is two years. If you are in a car accident and break a bone, you will have two full years from the date of the collision to bring a lawsuit against the liable party. If you wait longer than that, the court will either throw away the case without review on its own or at the behest of the defendant. Keep in mind that statutes may vary depending on where you live – some states allow just one year, and other states allow five. Always check with a personal injury attorney and ask about statutes of limitations before filing a claim.
Discovery Date Can Change Everything
Not every injury is as obvious as a broken bone, clearly, and statute of limitation laws recognize this issue. Many states allow a “date of discovery” rule for notice and filing deadlines for personal injury cases, especially when medical malpractice is to blame. This rule will start or restart the typical statute of limitation so that it begins on the first day an injury was noticeable or was linked specifically to a certain cause.
For example: Your state has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. Your doctor prescribes you heart medication in 2010. In 2015, you suffer a liver failure that requires surgery to correct. In 2016, evidence is released that suggests the heart medication you had been taking all along was damaging your liver the whole time. You would likely be able to file a medical malpractice suit against the doctor for prescribing dangerous medication, or against the pharmaceutical company that produced it, despite your beginning to take the medication more than two years ago.
Understanding statutes of limitations and the subtle nuances to the law can be difficult unless you are well-versed in personal injury litigation and regulations. Allow our Joplin, Springfield, and Rogers/Bentonville personal injury attorneys from Johnson, Vorhees & Martucci to assist you. With more than 140 years of combined legal experience, there is sure to be nothing about your case that surprises us.
Call 417.313.1130 to request a free case evaluation today.