If you are ever involved in a personal injury accident, you naturally want to hire a good personal injury lawyer who will build a solid case or claim that will help you win the settlement you want and need. But remember that you will have no case or claim (no matter how much merit it may have) if you file after the statute of limitations has passed. If you don’t know what the statute of limitations is in a personal injury case, read this article to find out!
Definition of the statute of limitations
Any personal injury lawyer in La Quinta will tell you that personal injury law defines the statute of limitations as, “a strict deadline set on a prospective plaintiff’s right to file a case in court or a claim out of court!” Miss the deadline and the courts will throw out your case even if it was legitimate and you have substantial and admissible evidence to prove that the defendant was at fault. Keep in mind that your case is permanently closed if and when this occurs.
The statute of limitations differs by state
Each state’s personal injury law has different codes which define the statute of limitations (for that particular state!) Therefore, you should not be surprised to learn that the statute of limitations differs by state. It (statute of limitations) also differs according to the type of civil case being filed. The language of the legal code of each state’s personal injury law spells out a different statute of limitations for filing claims and cases. Don’t be surprised if you read the personal injury laws of different states and find variations in the language used. This is normal and to be expected. Just remember that though the language is different, all states’ personal injury laws set statute of limitations for filing personal injury claims and cases. The statute of limitations for California is two years.
You probably don’t have a personal injury case or claim if you file after the statute of limitations
Expect the judge or insurance adjuster to dismiss your case or claim if you file it after the statute of limitations has passed. There is nothing you can do once that happens. Furthermore, the defendant will probably be filing a motion in court or filing a petition with the insurance adjuster to throw out the case or claim. He or she will use the valid point that the statute of limitations has passed. There are some exceptions though. These exist if there are legal grounds to alter or extend the statute of limitations for the case or claim.
Remember that you will NOT be able to seek a settlement for any property damages or bodily injuries from the defendant if your case or claim is dismissed because it was filed after the statute of limitations deadline. Therefore, if you are ever involved in a personal injury accident, make sure to hire a personal injury lawyer immediately. Then learn what the statute of limitations for your case or claim is and file it well before that (statute of limitations) expires. Another added bonus to filing your claim or case well before the statute of limitations expires is that you’ll (probably) get a bigger settlement.
You can “toll” or extend the Statute of limitations
Your personal injury lawyer will tell you that each state has exceptions that apply to the general statute of limitations deadline for personal injury cases. Your personal injury lawyer will tell you that you can “toll” a personal injury case or lawsuit under the following circumstances:
● The plaintiff is a minor
● The plaintiff has a mental illness or handicap that makes him or her ‘unsound in the mind’
● The plaintiff is either in jail or deployed on active duty when the regular statute of limitations is set to lapse
● The defendant either leaves the state or hides in the state of his or her lawsuit
● The defendant has done illegal and/or fraudulent activities in an attempt to conceal or downplay his or her fault.
The statute of limitations is important that your personal injury lawyer will tell you that abiding by the statute of limitations can make the difference between having your case dismissed and you winning a huge settlement from the defendant.