If you are injured as a result of someone else’s actions, you have the right to file a lawsuit against them. If your lawsuit is successful, you can receive compensation for your injuries. You can receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages from missing work, permanent disabilities, and more. However, there is a factor that limits your ability to file a lawsuit. If you have been injured, it is important that you understand what the statute of limitations is and how it works.

The Statute of Limitations

Essentially, the statute of limitations is a time limit for filing a lawsuit. If you wait too long after the injury to file, the case will almost certainly be dismissed. This means it is basically impossible to receive compensation for an injury if you delay too long in taking legal action. The exact length of that a statute of limitations is depends on the state that you live in. There is a state of limitations for any type of legal case. For injury cases, it is usually either two or three years. This is plenty of time to get a lawsuit started, but it is best to begin talking with a lawyer immediately. There are some states where the statute of limitations is longer or shorter than most other states:

  • Florida – Four years
  • Kentucky – One year
  • Louisiana – One year
  • Maine – Six years
  • Missouri – Five years
  • Nebraska – Four years
  • North Dakota – Six years
  • Tennessee – One year
  • Utah – Four years
  • Wyoming – One year

Outside of these 10 states, the statute of limitations is always either two or three years.

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

There are a few situations where you can still file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has passed. It is not a good idea to rely on one of these exceptions, but they are there if you cannot help it. The biggest exception is called the “discovery rule,” which applies to most states. Essentially, this rule says that the statute of limitations only begins counting down when an injury is discovered or when the at-fault party is discovered. For example, if you inhale dangerous gasses, but you do not realize it has harmed your lungs until seven years later, you can still file a lawsuit. Likewise, if you only realize that a particular party irresponsibly exposed you to these gasses seven years after it happened, you can still file. Other exceptions depend heavily on which state you live in. An injury lawyer can provide you with more information and help you file your lawsuit.