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Statute of Limitations

What Is A "Statute of Limitation"?

Statutes of Limitations are laws that place a time limit on pursuing a legal remedy in relation to wrongful conduct. The injured person loses the right to file a lawsuit seeking money damages or other relief when the statutory period expires. Each state has different time periods in which a lawsuit must be commenced. Within each state, this time period may be different depending on the type of lawsuit being considered. Calculating the Statute of Limitation period can be confusing to a lay person. The date the Statute of Limitation begins to run and the date that it expires may be different depending upon the facts of your particular case.

If you believe that you have a case, contact an experienced attorney at Finz & Finz, P.C., now toll free at (855) TOP-FIRM or simply complete the Free Case Evaluation form to confirm that your case is within the Statute of Limitations period.

When Does The "Statute of Limitation" Period Run?

Ordinarily, a claim accrues and an action may be commenced when the injury is sustained. For example, a lawsuit arising from an automobile accident accrues on the day of the accident. Sometimes, in cases involving medical malpractice, the statute will begin to run on the last date that the person consulted the doctor for the problem that was being treated even though the actual malpractice and injury occurred on an earlier date. This is generally referred to as the Continuous Treatment Doctrine.

In cases where the injury does not manifest itself immediately, the Statute of Limitation may begin to run when the injury is discovered or when the injury should have been discovered. This is generally referred to as the Discovery Rule. The Discovery Rule comes into play, for example, if a toxic substance is inhaled or absorbed. Under that circumstance the Statute of Limitation begins to run when you discover your illness (or should have discovered your illness) even though the injury does not become apparent until years after the toxic substance enters your body. While many states have a Discovery Rule, this rule does not exist in every state. In addition, in those states where the Discovery Rule exists, the Statute of Limitation may be shorter.

Can The "Statute of Limitation" Period Be Stopped From Running?

Yes. The Statute of Limitations may be tolled (temporally stopped from running) in cases where the injured person is under a legal disability. That usually means that the injured person is a minor or mentally incompetent. Tolling only applies, however, to benefit the person with the disability. For example, if a father and a child are injured in an automobile accident, the Statute of Limitation is tolled only for the minor. Sometimes the Statute of Limitation will be tolled for as long as the disability lasts, but in other states, it will begin to run at a specific age. Further, there are instances where a maximum period of tolling is set.

Is The "Statute of Limitation" Period Shorter In Certain Cases?

Yes. In cases against a municipality, a state or other type of governmental body such as a school district or a transportation authority, the Statute of Limitation may be shorter than it is for actions against a private party, and there may be additional requirements that must be satisfied before a lawsuit is commenced. In many instances, a Notice of Claim must be served upon the governmental entity within a short period of time. A failure to file the Notice of Claim may result in losing the right to bring a lawsuit.

It is Important to Consult with an Attorney 

Determining the Statute of Limitation period is complex. There are many factors that could affect the Statute of Limitation. These include, but are not limited to, when the claim accrues, whether the cause of the injury is known, whether the injured person is an infant or incompetent, or whether the lawsuit is against a governmental entity.

The information contained here is believed to be accurate as of the date of authorship but is not intended to present a complete analysis of statutory limitations. Further, the laws affecting the Statute of Limitation may be changed at any time by a Legislature or be interpreted differently by the Courts. Accordingly, the information here should only be used as a general reference and should never be used as a substitute for a consultation with an attorney.

Search For The "Statute of Limitation" Period By State

Click on a state below in our Related Topics section to find out that state's Statute of Limitation for personal injury.

For a determination of how the Statute of Limitation period applies to your case, contact an experienced attorney at Finz & Finz, P.C., now toll free at (855) TOP-FIRM or simply complete the Free Case Evaluation form.

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