Personal Injury Statute of Limitations to Get Compensation Time Limit

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Being injured when it is not your fault is bad enough, so you surely do not want to miss out on the window of filing a suit for damages and injury compensation. The clock starts ticking the moment the accident takes place, though, so you are going to need to act fairly quickly to ensure you are filing a valid lawsuit.

Is There a Standard Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases?

The upfront answer here is “no,” but there are some ballpark figures we can provide to you. Every state will have its own set statute of limitations for personal injury cases but, generally speaking, you will have anywhere from one to six years to file your case (there are some limited exceptions to this rule). Below you will find a complete list of all states and the current statute for personal injury:

  • Alabama – 2 years
  • Alaska – 2 years
  • Arizona – 2 years
  • Arkansas – 3 years
  • California – 2 years
  • Colorado – 2 years (3 years for injuries with motor vehicles)
  • Connecticut – 2 years
  • Delaware – 2 years
  • District of Columbia – 3 years
  • Florida – 4 years
  • Georgia – 2 years
  • Hawaii – 2 years
  • Idaho – 2 years
  • Illinois – 2 years
  • Indiana – 2 years
  • Iowa – 2 years
  • Kansas – 2 years
  • Kentucky – 1 year
  • Louisiana – 1 year
  • Maine – 6 years
  • Massachusetts – 3 years
  • Michigan – 3 years
  • Minnesota – 2 years
  • Mississippi – 3 years
  • Missouri – 5 years
  • Montana – 3 years
  • Nebraska – 4 years
  • Nevada – 2 years
  • New Hampshire – 3 years
  • New Jersey – 2 years
  • New Mexico – 3 years
  • New York – 3 years
  • North Carolina – 3 years
  • North Dakota – 6 years
  • Ohio – 2 years
  • Oklahoma – 2 years
  • Oregon – 2 years
  • Pennsylvania – 2 years
  • Rhode Island – 3 years
  • South Carolina – 3 years
  • South Dakota – 3 years
  • Tennessee – 1 year
  • Texas – 2 years
  • Utah – 4 years
  • Vermont – 3 years
  • Virginia – 2 years
  • Washington – 2 years
  • West Virginia – 2 years
  • Wisconsin – 3 years
  • Wyoming – 4 years

Are There Exceptions to the Standard State of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases?

There are exceptions, and they are covered under the “Discovery Rule.” Qualifiers under this rule are if there was an injury that occurred where the injured party was not immediately aware of the injury as well as when the actions of the defendant in the case may have caused the injury AFTER the standard statute of limitations has expired.

For argument’s sake, let’s assume your state has a three-year statute of limitations, but the state also has a discovery rule in place for personal injury that states:

  1. The plaintiff either knew or had sufficient notice of the possible cause of harm
  2. The plaintiff either knew or had sufficient notice he or she was injured

Now, I know this may seem odd, but it happens far more often than most people realize. For instance, the use of asbestos in construction has led to lawsuits well after the fact. While the first lawsuit ever claimed for asbestos injury happened in 1924 when 33-year-old Nellie Kershaw died from what was believed to have been asbestos exposure from working in a factory spinning yarn. Her official cause of death was listed as “fibrosis of the lungs,” which was linked to her inhaling mineral particles, most likely from her work at the yarn factory.

Mass lawsuits on asbestos started beginning in the 1960s and we are still seeing cases brought before the courts today. In all these cases, individuals were completely unaware of their injuries until well after the fact. However, as more information became available and more deaths and/or health problems were linked to the use of asbestos, these individuals were all still eligible to file suit (or their families) for personal injury. The clock for such cases as this would start the moment you were diagnosed with health issues directly related to asbestos exposure.

Other Ways to Extend Deadline

Some states offer an extension if the potential defendant left the state. For example, you were working for a company as a contractor outside your home state and an injury occurred. If you left the state prior to the deadline being exhausted, the deadline may get extended by the days you were no longer in the state where the injury occurred.

There are also sometimes exceptions if the injured party is a minor, mentally ill, insane, or disabled. Please note, however, this is not the case in every state, and you are best served to discuss your case with an attorney to ensure your statute of limitations has not expired or can be extended in cases such as this.

Need to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?

If you have been harmed in an accident or suspect you have injuries or health problems related to conditions beyond your control, the safest route is to consult with a personal injury attorney to discuss your case. Consultation is free and fees, in most cases, are deducted from the settlement, so you will have to put little to no money out upfront to pursue your case. For more information about our personal injury legal services or to hire a personal injury attorney, click here.

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