I was recently contacted by a former client who had been involved in another accident and was wondering if he had a case. After reviewing the underlying facts of his potential case, I had to give him the unfortunate news that although he was injured as the result someone else’s negligence, he could not bring a lawsuit against that individual because his case was barred by the Statute of Limitations.
So, what is the Statute of Limitations? The Statute of Limitations in civil actions is a strict time limit, set by state law, within which a lawsuit may start. While there are some exceptions to this rule, once this time limit has been reached a lawsuit can no longer be brought and, if one is, the courts will dismiss the action as time barred. In most cases, the time limit starts to run on the date the accident occurred.
In addition, there are many different Statutes of Limitations for different types of potential cases. For example, the accident which our former client called us about involved the negligence of another person. Most cases where people are injured involve some sort of negligence (ie., a car accident, trip and fall, injury at a construction site, etc.). For negligence cases the Statute of Limitations is three years from the date of the accident.
In upcoming posts, I will review other types of time limits that might bar someone from bringing a lawsuit. But most importantly always remember that if you were injured and think that you may have a case, call us immediately because the last thing that you want to find out is that your case is barred by the Statute of Limitations!