Personal Injury Lawyer
While every state’s laws are different, if you’re injured, every state does have a limited time frame during which you must file a claim, called a statute of limitations.
In personal injury cases, most states allow two years to file, which gives attorneys time to consider your claim and try to gather enough information and evidence to make a convincing case.
Other states, are more generous. Colorado allows three years if the personal injury is related to a car accident; Montana, Washington, Vermont, New Mexico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, North Carolina, New York, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire allow three years to file for any personal injury suit; Florida, Utah, Wyoming, and Nebraska allow four years; Missouri allows five; and Maine and North Dakota both have a six-year statute of limitations.
Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama, however, are much less generous, and allow just one year from the time of an injury for a person to file a claim.
Because it still takes months – sometimes years – for a case to make it to trial, there will still be time for an attorney to gather evidence if a case is going to court, but the initial, most critical evidence should be submitted when the claim is filed.
There are exceptions, however.
I was injured, but had no clue
While this may sound like an episode of some random TLC show, it is far more serious.
In some cases, you may not realize you sustained an injury during a surgical procedure until an X-ray later turns up a medical device unintentionally left behind following a surgery. In that case, a person usually has two years from the time of discovery to file a lawsuit against the hospital or doctor responsible.
You may not think this would be an issue, as most operating rooms have a protocol to count sponges and surgical utensils both before and after surgery, but according to WebMD.com, it is an issue, and a serious one.
In 2013, The watchdog group The Joint Commission said foreign objects being left behind following surgery “is a well-known problem,” according to Dr. Ana McKee, who serves as CMO and executive vice president of the commission. While some recover despite the errors, those with compromised immune systems, such as the recipients of newly-transplanted organ, usually die after such an accident, creating a more significant claim.
Workers Comp claims
Under the Florida Workers Compensation Act, those who are injured at work have two years from the date of the injury to file a claim. Afterwards, there is a one-year statute of limitations, which means that a worker who is receiving benefits will lose them if they go more than a year without seeing a doctor regarding those injuries.
Other states allow more time, such as Massachusetts, which allows four years, and Minnesota and Pennsylvania, which both allow three.
Texas, Washington, Arizona, California, Tennessee, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Wyoming, and South Dakota each allow one year before the statute of limitations runs out.
In Kansas, workers are allowed 200 days, and in Vermont and West Virginia, workers have six months to file claims.
What if I am suing a government entity?
If you are injured on a Chicago city bus, for example, that is a government entity, and special rules apply. There are papers that need to be filed in order to be allowed to file a suit, and then, the time frame to file is usually must shorter.
Contact a personal injury lawyer if you were injured on a bus, subway or other government-owned and -operated mode of transportation to be safe and within the statute of limitation. An attorney will understand rules that you may not be aware exist, and can help guide you through the process so that you don’t ruin your chance to file a claim.