Statute of limitations laws are rules that outline how long a person has to file a lawsuit after an incident. In personal injury cases, such as car accidents, the statute of limitations varies by state. You may have two years to file your lawsuit or you may have five. It’s important to speak to a car accident lawyer after your accident to take the right steps to preserve evidence and to protect your rights to understand the statute of limitations in your state.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations can be complex because the law does allow for some exceptions. In some cases, the statute of limitations can be shortened. When a car accident involves a government entity, you may have only 60 days to bring a claim to the organization. If you’ve been injured, you don’t want to wait to speak to an attorney and to start the process.
In some cases, the statute of limitations can be extended. If a person is on active duty in the military, they may have more time to bring a case. When a case involves a minor who is injured, the statute of limitations may not start until the person turns 18 years old. In medical malpractice lawsuits, there is a concept called the discovery rule. This means that the statute of limitations may not start until the malpractice was discovered. In-car accident cases, it’s referred to as equitable tolling. It’s far less common in car accident cases, but if the statute of limitations runs out before you actually discover the cause of action, you may get more time to bring a lawsuit.
Dram shop laws let you bring a lawsuit against a drinking establishment that lets patrons drive home under the influence. If you think this applies to your case, you may have a very brief window of time, maybe 60 days, before the statute of limitations bars you from bringing a lawsuit against a business. You don’t want to miss the deadline without examining your options.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help You?
The statute of limitations rules are complex and specific to your state. When you talk to a car accident lawyer, you get information that helps you make decisions about your case. Make an appointment with a car accident attorney who can help you protect your rights.