Statute of Limitations

What does Statute of Limitations mean?

For Personal Injury Cases: The statute of limitations is the amount of time the plaintiff has to file a personal injury claim. Claimants who are injured due to the actions of another person have a specific amount of time to file their injury claim, which varies by state and by the type of injury case they file. For example, in the state of California claimants have two years from the date of injury to file a personal injury case, three years to file a fraud case, one year to file a libel or slander case and two years to file a product liability case.

If an injured party fails to file their injury claim within the statute of limitations they will lose their right to do so and their right to recover compensation for their injuries. Common compensation which is lost includes payment for future and present lost wages, future and current medical expenses, pain and suffering and under some conditions punitive damages.

For Criminal Cases: The statute of limitations is the amount of time the state or federal government has to file criminal charges against an alleged defendant. Statutes of Limitations vary but most states break them down based on the type of crime: misdemeanors, felony crimes and serious or violent crimes (which are generally classified as felonies).

For instance, if you have been charged for a misdemeanor most states have up to one year to file charges against. Some felony indictments may be allowed up to seven years, while more serious violent crimes, such as homicide or violent sexual assault, may not have a time limitations. Exceptions may also exist if the prosecution cannot find a suspect or the suspect has left the state.

Statutes of limitations vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Generally, the time limit starts to run on the date the offense was committed and not from the time the crime was discovered or the accused was identified. If you have been charged with a criminal offense, or have questions about a pending criminal indictment, talk to a criminal lawyer who is familiar with the statutes of limitations in your state.

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