How the Statute of Limitations Works and its Legal Benefit

If you suffer from an injury of any kind after an accident, you have the right to seek legal consultation immediately. If you delay, the responsible party can destroy or damage the evidence that could have assisted you in proving your case. Apart from that, every state has a time limit when victims can file their claims.

Admittedly, if you do not file your claim within the deadline, you might end up losing your right to file a claim and receive a monetary settlement for the injuries suffered and future complications emanating from the injury. This guide provides the exceptions to the statute of limitations and reasons why different states impose timeframes for filing claims.

Tolling of statute of limitations

Most states globally have a time limit of two years when victims of wrongful death, assault, battery, dog bites, product liability, medical malpractice, or motor vehicle accident can file their claims. However, in some cases, the statute of limitation might be paused or tolled, provided that certain circumstances apply to your claim. In this case, tolling implies that the state can pause the time limit due to an extenuating circumstance. Most nations around the world provide tolling under the following circumstances:

  • The defendant is under the age of 18 or a minor
  • The defendant faces active criminal charges related to your case or is imprisoned.
  • The state cannot locate the defendants because they traveled outside the country, but the judge served them with a lawsuit.
  • The defendant is legally unsound mind.
  • There was a reasonable delay in unearthing an injury after an accident
  • The victim suffered injuries due to concealment, deception, or fraud

After that condition which leads to the tolling ends, the tolling period also ends, and the statute of limitations resumes or starts to apply. For instance, consider a case where two parents in Massachusetts die due to work-related accidents and leave their 16-year old son. Consequently, the son wishes to file for a wrongful death claim, but because he is a minor, the Massachusetts statute of limitations will be tolled until he turns 18 years of age. After turning 18 years, the limitation period will start to apply. Therefore, he should file the claim for damages before turning 20 years old if his state has limited the period to two years.

Benefits of statutes of limitations

Although victims of criminal or civil cases might feel that the statute of limitations prohibits the prosecution of their offender, several reasons explain why the statutes exist. One of the main reasons is to ensure that your lawsuit is handled on time. That means you need to pursue a claim with reasonable diligence for you to heal from the damages suffered. Also, the statutes hinder one from filing claims that have lasted for several years only to harass the other party.

Requiring victims to file claims within a certain period ensures that the necessary evidence and facts to prove or disprove a case are presented while they are discoverable and fresh. For instance, after several years have elapsed, the victim might lose the relevant evidence. Therefore, improper evidence can disadvantage the defense or prosecution team, resulting in an unjust verdict. Further, people’s memories become less reliable and fade with time. That means it can be unreasonable to expect witnesses to recall all the details of an accident that happened like a decade ago. Further, the performer having the information might pass away or become incapacitated.

You should not miss the deadline which applied to your case. In particular, failing to meet the deadline will make your claim void, and you can lose your legal right to seek settlement from the people who contributed to the harm or injuries suffered. The ideal way to ensure that you stay on the right track in compensation is by hiring a professional attorney specializing in handling your specific case. The attorney can analyze your claim, inform you of the time limit and help you in ensuring that you file the claim within the appropriate timeframe to receive the settlement you deserve.