If you’ve been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to bring forth a lawsuit. However, you have a set time period to file this lawsuit, especially if you’re seeking a settlement for medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost income. This time restriction is referred to as a statute of limitations.
What does a statute of limitations mean? Consider it a countdown clock that starts the minute you’re in an accident and suffer an injury.
A statute of limitations apply to all kinds of personal injury claims. It can apply to everything from car accidents and wrongful death lawsuits to medical malpractice and product liability, but can also include many others.
The statute of limitations time period is different from state to state, but one thing is universal, you must initiate a civil action for damages before this time period passes. If time runs out, you’ll lose your right to hold people who caused your injuries financially liable.
Statute of Repose?
Under certain situations, there may be a “statute of repose” instead. What is it you ask? You could consider it a second statute of limitations. When one is injured due to medical malpractice or faulty goods, the statute of limitations wouldn’t always begin when the victim finds the injury and connects it to the malpractice or hazardous product.
For a statute of repose, there is a strict time limit on how long a person has to file a lawsuit, regardless of whether or not a harm has occurred within that time period. It’s a method of avoiding a lawsuit from being filed years or decades after a harm has occurred.
For product liability, the statute of repose is 10 years, which means one cannot file a claim more than 10 years after a product is originally sold.
For medical malpractice, claims have a 5-year statute of repose. This means that an injured patient has up to 5 years after obtaining medical treatment or services to file a negligence claim against a healthcare practitioner.
Personal Injury Claims Against the Government
In some states, including Georgia, there’s a legal concept known as “sovereign immunity,” which makes it almost impossible to sue a government body. There is, however, one exception to the rule. The immunity does not apply if you are harmed as a result of the negligence of a government body or employee.
Personal injury cases brought against the government, on the other hand, are subject to certain regulations. Most importantly, before you may bring a case in civil court, you must first submit a specific administrative claim with the government agency.
Your administrative claim must be processed in months. The amount of time you have is determined on the kind of government entity you are suing for your injury. Some municipalities, such as the city of Atlanta, give you six months from the date of your injury to file a claim. Your statutory window to file a claim against a county or the state is just one year.
You Don’t Have Forever, So File On Time
Make sure you don’t miss the window to file your personal injury lawsuit. If you do, your claim will be invalid, and you will lose your ability to seek compensation from those who caused you harm.
Getting a personal injury attorney engaged as soon as you’ve been in an accident or find an injury is the best method to guarantee you don’t lose out on compensation. Your attorney will examine your case, establish the applicable time restriction, and submit your claim within that period so that you may pursue the compensation you deserve.