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Time Limits on Personal Injury Cases

Lady justice holding scales in front of clock

The concept of a statute of limitations is akin to a ticking clock on the ability to seek justice in a court of law. In personal injury, these statutes play a pivotal role, setting a firm deadline by which an injured party must file a lawsuit.

Determining the Onset of Limitation Periods

Date of Injury or Discovery

Identifying when the statute of limitations begins to run is a critical first step in safeguarding your legal rights. Generally, the clock starts with the occurrence of the injury itself. However, in some instances, the injured party may not immediately become aware of the harm. This is where the 'discovery rule' comes into play, allowing the limitation period to commence from the date the injury was, or reasonably should have been, discovered.

Legal Actions

Filing an Insurance Claim

Many individuals mistakenly believe that initiating an insurance claim will also extend the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit. However, these are separate processes. While negotiating with an insurance company is an important step in the aftermath of an injury, it does not halt the statute's countdown.

Tolling the Statute of Limitations

Under certain circumstances, the statute of limitations can be tolled, effectively pausing the countdown to the filing deadline. Events such as the defendant's bankruptcy, the plaintiff's mental incompetence, or even active military service can trigger tolling provisions. Additionally, some jurisdictions may allow for tolling in cases where the defendant has taken steps to conceal their wrongdoing, preventing the plaintiff from discovering the injury.

Consequences of Missing the Deadline

Missing the statute of limitations deadline carries a stark consequence: the complete dismissal of your lawsuit. This legal cutoff is rigidly enforced, and courts typically have no discretion to allow cases to proceed once the limitation period has expired. It is a harsh reality that underscores the urgency of acting swiftly to protect your rights. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury, contacting a reputable law firm like Simonson Goodman Platzer PC can ensure that your claim is handled with the urgency and attention it deserves.

If you've been affected by a personal injury, don't let time slip away. The legal professionals at Simonson Goodman Platzer PC are dedicated to helping you navigate the complexities of personal injury claims. Contact us today.

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