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Is There a Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury?

If you have sustained an injury, especially as a result of negligence from another party, then you might have a personal injury case. However, do note that in many states, there is a statute of limitations, a time limit so to speak, that restricts the amount of time a person has to file a personal injury claim.

But what is it? Are there exceptions to the rule? How do I find out what the statute of limitations is in my state?

All of these questions and more will be answered in a moment.

What Is The Statute of Limitations?

Well, we kind of dropped the ball on that one since we already answered what a statute of limitations is in the intro. For the personal injury statute of limitations, the clock starts ticking the day that the injury occurred and the time allotted can vary from state to state. The typical range for this is between one to six years. This provision is very strict and, if you try to file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has ended in your state, your case will likely be dismissed in court. There are a few exceptions to the rule which we will discuss in detail in a moment.

In California, for instance, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is 2 years. After the 2 years is up, unless you qualify for the exceptions, you won’t be able to file a personal injury suit.

Discovery Rule Exception

On the other hand, in some states, there is the main exception to this rule known as the “discovery rule” exception which can reset the clock on the statute of limitations, should it have expired.

In the discovery rule exception, the filing deadline can be extended if (a) the injured party was not aware of the injury or (b) the injured party was unaware that the possible defendant had caused the injury. For this to apply, the person had to have either knew or had noticed that they were injured as well as the cause of the injury. A great example of this exception would be if the person had been exposed to a substance, possibly due to unknown dangerous working conditions, and later developed an illness as a result of the exposure.

Other Exceptions To Note

Aside from the discovery rule exception, there are other exceptions to the statute of limitations that could permit more time for a personal injury lawsuit. Now, there is no guarantee that a court will allow these will extend your time limit or if your state even allows these exceptions. This is why it is always wise to consult with a personal injury firm, like The Grossman Law Office, for instance, who can advise you on what applies in your state.

First, if the injured person is mentally ill, disabled, insane, or under the age of 18, then the statute of limitations could be extended. Second, the deadline can be extended if the potential defendant was out of state. For instance, (we will use California as an example), if the deadline is two years but the defendant was out of state for a year after the injury occurred, then a judge could possibly extend the deadline by the length of time that the defendant was out of state.

Seeking a Personal Injury Lawyer in Fresno

If you feel that you have a personal injury case, then it would be best to seek help from a personal injury attorney. They can assist you with your personal injury claim, answer any questions including ones pertaining to the statute of limitations, and advise you of your legal rights in your case. Make sure you don’t wait too long after the injury and, if you feel you qualify for the exceptions, talk with your lawyer about it.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.

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