What is a statute of limitations in a personal injury claim?
A statute of limitations is a type of federal or state law that restricts the time in which a legal proceeding may be filed with the court. These statutes, which apply to both civil and criminal actions, are in place to prevent fraudulent and old claims from arising long after the event. The statute defines how long an injured person has to either settle an injury claim with an insurance company, or to file a lawsuit.
In civil claims, the states establish different deadlines depending on the type of claim. Go to this link to learn more about the statute of limitations in each state.
To make things more complicated, most states have different limitations for different types of cases. So it is possible that a personal injury claim will have a different statute of limitations than a medical malpractice or wrongful death claim.
There are exceptions to statutes of limitations, but these are usually related to medical malpractice claims. The exception, called the discovery of harm, can occur when the harmed person can prove that the injury didn’t reveal itself right away.
Statute of limitations for an injured minor
When a minor is injured, the statute of limitations is different in that it does not begin to run until the minor reaches the age of 18. So if the statute of limitations for that state is two years, then an injured minor would have until their 20th birthday to file a lawsuit.
To ensure that a claim is handled properly and that the prevailing statute of limitations is met, it is worthwhile to speak with an injury attorney who understands the statute of limitations in the state, and can evaluate a potential claim for its value and strengths.