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Statutes of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases

This blog explores the initial stages of the lawsuit process. It examines statutes of limitations deadlines, choice of trials, choice of venue, and the initial legal filings you can expect from the insurance company or individual or entity you have sued.


A sad moment for lawyer and client occurs when it becomes clear that a statute of limitations deadline has passed. Statute of limitations deadlines are legal time limits that control when lawsuits must be filed. If the lawsuit is not filed before the statute of limitations deadline, it will be subject to dismissal by the court. It is, therefore, extremely important that you find out the deadline for your case and keep it in mind when negotiating.

Statutes of limitations vary from state to state and occasionally are changed by legislatures. On my next blog I feature a list of the deadlines for negligence cases as of the time this book was written, along with the statute citations. To be sure of your deadline you should check the law for your state or ask a personal injury attorney.

This list applies only to negligence cases. Thus, if you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident or slip-and-fall accident involving negligence, you can check this list for your statute of limitations deadline. If your injury involves medical malpractice, a defective product, assault and battery, slander or liable, or any other kind of injury, a different statute of limitations deadline may apply to your case. You will need either to check the law yourself or contact a personal injury attorney. A quick trip to your local library should be all it takes to research this important issue.

Even if you are pursuing a negligence lawsuit, this list may not suffice. For example, in Kentucky where a one-year statute of limitations applies to negligent cases, an exception exists that may extend the deadline significantly. In California, in certain cases, the limitations period is one year and in others it is two years. In Colorado, it is two years for slip and fall cases but three years for motor vehicle accidents.

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