What is the statute of limitation on personal injury?
If you have any familiarity with courtroom dramas like “Law & Order” or “The Practice,” then you’ve probably heard of something called “statute of limitations.” As its title implies, this refers to the window of time in which an action can be prosecuted against. For example, because of the gravity of the offense, violent offenses usually don’t have a time limit where those accused can be charged.
But what about for personal injuries? Is there a statute of limitation on them? After all, an untold number of injuries occur every year through a variety of scenarios, sometimes maliciously, but usually accidentally. Car accident injuries might be the best example. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and National Safety Council, since January, 2.1 million motorists have been seriously injured in automotive crashes. Additionally, an estimated 18,680 have died from their injuries.
Accident injuries highly common for older Americans
Slip-and-fall accidents are similarly all too frequent. Indeed, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, someone in America falls every second of the day. This helps explain why falls are the leading cause of injuryand death among senior citizens.
In short, when injuries happen through no fault of your own and they cost money to treat, it pays to know what laws are in place that govern the prosecution of accident injuries. So, is there a statute of limitation on injury? The short answer is yes, but as is so often the case, it’s not as simple as that.
The statute of limitation on personal injury is heavily dependent on state law.
Time period can run the gamut
All 50 states have rules in place that serve as guidelines for how long litigants have to file a lawsuit for personal injury. But depending on where you live, the window you have varies considerably. Take California as an example. The Golden State is far and away the most-populated state in the country. So one would think there’d be a lengthy stretch for injury litigants to settle disputes in court. In reality, though, the statute of limitation on injury in this part of the country is just two years.
In fact, in most of the U.S., the time limit is approximately two years, including states like Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Delaware and Nevada. But in other states, the period is even shorter. For instance, in Kentucky, it’s just one year and the same is true in Louisiana.
Then again, in a number of other states, the statute of limitations on personal injury is a bit longer, being three years in places like New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island. However, in Maine and North Dakota, the time limit is six years.
Accident attorneys uniquely qualified
That states have differing time periods for lawsuit litigation is good to know, but the only issue with it is there’s really no rhyme or reason to them. In other words, there’s no formula you can use to know right away what the length is. Furthermore, the window of opportunity today might be different next year, as dictated by state legislatures. Adding to the confusion, not all personal injuries are treated the same, so while an injury resulting from a car accident may have a statute of limitations of three years, those resulting from some other event may be shorter or longer.
This is one of the many reasons why it pays to have an accident attorney. Accident lawyers operate at the state level, and as such, have an intimate knowledge of what laws are in place and when actions need to be made. By hiring an attorney to represent you, you’ll have the understanding and experience you need to move forward with your case in a competent, well-informed manner.
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