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Time Limits for Filing a Personal Injury Case

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on February 08, 2011 8:51 AM

Just because someone injures you doesn't mean you have the right to sue.

Under the law, all lawsuits are subject to a statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is a defined time period that creates a definitive end to an injured party's right to bring suit, with the goal of preventing a lawsuit from lingering indefinitely. If you don't file a lawsuit before the time limit runs out, you no longer have an actionable legal claim.

A statute of limitations means that injured parties must pay attention to time limits. Personal injury victims are often given a period of two years to bring suit, but statutes of limitations tend to vary by state. They may also vary injury by injury. For instance, the statute of limitations for injuries involving victims under the age of eighteen usually doesn't begin to run until the minor comes of age.

When considering time limits, personal injury victims are subject to two potential starting points. The statute of limitations can either begin to run on the date of the injury, or, if the injury isn't readily apparent, when it is discovered. This is important for injuries that take time to develop or are hidden. In some cases, when the victim is impaired or incompetent, it is likely that the statute of limitations will toll--or stop--until the victim resumes functionality.

While the clock is ticking, it is important to keep in mind that statutes of limitations are frequently changed to align with trends in the legal world. To keep up with these changes and to determine when your statute of limitations begins to run, it would be wise to consult a personal injury lawyer.

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