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 and Springfield 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.