A statute of limitations, in the simplest sense, refers to a deadline by which your case must be filed with the proper Court. If your case is not filed before the expiration of the statute of limitations, your claim will be forever barred and you will forfeit the right to bring a claim against the person who injured you. As a precaution, you should be aware that a statute of limitations can be very technical in nature and the consequences of failing to comply with a statute of limitations are severe: you will forfeit your claim and lose the right to hold someone accountable for your injuries. With such dire consequences, do not ever attempt to calculate a statute of limitations on your own. Also, statutes of limitations change, and, as noted in our legal disclaimer, the information on this site may not always reflect the most current or up to date laws.
In most personal injury matters, the statute of limitations is two years. If your case is not filed within two years of the date of the accident or incident that caused your injuries, your claim will be forfeited and you will not be allowed to bring a claim. For this reason, if your claim demand has not resulted in a settlement within two years, then your lawyer will need to file a lawsuit in Court in order to preserve your right to bring your claim. Otherwise, the person who cased the accident or the insurance company will simply deny your claim and you will be left without a remedy.
There are some types of cases that have a shorter statute of limitations. For example, medical malpractice cases have a one year statute of limitations. In addition, you properly serve a Notice of Right to Arbitration prior to the expiration of the one year period. An arbitration notice temporarily tolls the Statue of Limitations, giving you additional time to file your claim.
If you have a claim against a government entity, the statute of limitations is even shorter. You must file a claim with the appropriate administrative agency of the government within six months of the accident or incident, and then if the agency rejects your claim, you must file your claim with a Court within six months of the agency’s denial of your claim.
The foregoing are the most commonly applicable statutes of limitations in personal injury cases. Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, and the laws governing your case, a different limitation period may apply. Always consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to determine the correct statute of limitations applicable to your case.