What Is a Statute of Limitations?

Personal Injury Lawyer

If you were involved in an accident and hope to receive compensation for your injuries, you probably have heard the term statute of limitations. This is a vital concept for you to understand, as it determines how viable your lawsuit is. A personal injury lawyer can provide you with more information, but the basics are simple enough to understand.

The Statute of Limitations

Essentially, the statute of limitations is the time limit you have to file a lawsuit. An existing lawsuit has no limit on how long it can take to resolve, but it must be filed before the statute of limitations expires. For example, if the statute of limitations in your state is two years for a personal injury case, you can file a lawsuit until two years from the accident have passed. After that, any lawsuits you file will almost certainly be thrown out. The statute of limitations being expired is a nearly ironclad reason for a case to be invalid. In addition to this, other reasons to file a lawsuit as soon as possible include:

  • Information is easier to collect
  • Better chances of winning the trial
  • Receive your compensation sooner

Keep in mind that it takes time to file a lawsuit, so you cannot wait until only a few days before the time limit is up. In most states, the statute of limitations for a personal injury case is two or three years. In a few states, it may instead be one, four, five, or six years. It is important to understand what the laws are for your particular state. A lawyer can make it easier to understand what those laws are.

The Discovery Rule

Most states have something called the discovery rule. This says that the statute of limitations begins when the accident or at-fault party is discovered. So if you are injured but don’t realize it at first, your time limit begins when you discover the injury. For example, a minor broken bone can be hard to detect for a long time. If this is the case, you need to prove that the accident caused the injury. As another example, the other driver in a car accident may have driven off, but you discover his or her identity a few months later. In this case, the statute of limitations begins when you discover the driver’s identity. No matter what your case is, one of the first steps you should take after being injured is to speak with a personal injury attorney.

Source: Personal Injury Lawyer Deer Park, TX, John K. Zaid & Associates

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