When does the statute of limitations expire?

If you have been injured due to the negligence of another person, business, or entity you may be considering filing a personal injury claim. But before filing an injury claim it is important not only to understand your state's laws and what elements of the case you need to prove to win, but also how long you have to file a claim. Recently on our legal forum a claimant asked, "When does the statute of limitations for an injury claim expire?"

Statute of limitations and state laws

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. Not only do different jurisdictions have different statutes of limitations, the amount of time you have to file a case can also vary by case. For instance, the amount of time you have to file an injury claim in Texas is two years, but in Utah you will have four years to file a claim and in Vermont you will have three.

Consider also, some states may have a two year statute of limitations for injury claims but allow exceptions for specific cases. For instance, if you have a medical malpractice case and the doctor left a sponge in your body the statute of limitations may not start until the discovery of the item (up to a specific number of years after the date of the action which caused the injury).

What if you want to file a property damage case or a breach of contract case? Laws will vary by state. For instance, in Alabama you have up to six years to file a breach of contract case, but in Alaska you have three years.

So what do you do if you are not sure about the laws for your state? You can either talk to an injury lawyer or review your state's statutes.

Filing your case as soon as possible

If you have been injured it is important to file your injury claim as soon as possible. Failing to file before the statute of limitations expires may eliminate your right to compensation. But filing sooner rather than later can also ensure evidence is found, maintained, and is more accurate. Witness memories can fade and evidence can be lost. It is important to preserve the best information and evidence for your case.

First steps after injury

So what are the first steps you need to take after a personal injury claim? First, get good medical care and save all information related to the costs of your medical care. Next, gather information about the accident including pictures, witness statements and contact information from anyone who has information about your claim. Next, talk to an injury lawyer.

Injury lawyers can review your case and let you know if they believe your are entitled to compensation. Remember, if a lawyer does not believe they can prove the elements of your case or you have not suffered loss, they will not take your case. The good news is an injury lawyer works on a contingency fee and will only be paid if you win your personal injury case.

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