If you are injured in a car accident, you have a lot on your mind. From getting the medical treatment you need, you may not have time to think about filing a lawsuit against the party who was responsible for the accident. This is why many accident victims wonder if there is a time limit on filing a lawsuit. The short answer is that there is a time limit, but the specifics of how it works are a little more complicated. Additionally, each state works a little differently, so it is important to speak with a Milwaukee car accident lawyer so you can get information specific to Wisconsin laws.
The Statute of Limitations
The time limit on filing a lawsuit is called the statute of limitations. If the statute of limitations is two years, then the time between the accident and you filing a lawsuit cannot be longer than one year. If you file after this amount of time has passed, then the lawsuit will almost certainly be thrown out. You need to figure out what the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is for your state. It most likely will be two or three years, as this is the most common. However, some states set the statute of limitations at one, four, five, or six years. As a Milwaukee car accident lawyer can explain, the statute of limitations in Wisconsin is three years.
The Exceptions to the Rule
There may be a few exceptions that allow you to file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has passed. Exceptions are rare, and you should not rely on them anyway. The most common exception is called the discovery rule. Essentially, under the discovery rule, the statute of limitations does not begin until either:
- The injury is discovered
- The at-fault party is discovered
Although rare, an injury may not be immediately evident after an accident. If this happens, the statute of limitations does not begin until the injury is discovered. For example, if you are in a car accident and do not realize your wrist has a hairline fracture until four years later, you can still file a lawsuit even if the statute of limitations is three years.
Alternatively, you may not have gotten the other driver’s contact information and are unable to get in contact with them for three years. Once again, you can still file a lawsuit even if the statute of limitations is two years. Your Milwaukee car accident lawyer will know all the exceptions for your state, so it is a good idea to hire a Milwaukee personal injury lawyer and speak with him or her.
If you have been injured in a car accident, contact a Milwaukee car accident lawyer from Hickey & Turim, S.C. to find out what your legal options may be.