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What is a Statute of Limitations?

Charles Darwin once said, “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” Time is important in all areas of life, but it is especially important if you are thinking of filing a lawsuit.

In a civil case, a statute of limitations is the amount of time that a person has to file a lawsuit. Each state has its own set of statutes of limitations. The time limits also vary based on the reason for the lawsuit.

When it comes to traffic accidents, the clock starts ticking the second the collision happens. You should check the time and date of your accident report to make sure that it is accurate.

Why Lawsuits have Time Limitations

Statutes of limitations date back to classical Athens. The government set a five-year limitation on all crimes with the exception of murder. Most countries today have statutes of limitations on both criminal and civil cases with homicide being the only crime not limited by such action.

Time limits are generally put in place to encourage people who want to bring civil suits to act swiftly. They are also designed to protect defendants. Another reason for limitations simply has to do with the way businesses keep records. An individual or company who is being sued may have gotten rid of important information pertaining to a suit after a certain amount of time.

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

There are a few very rare cases in which a statute of limitations may be extended. Most states have a discovery rule. In cases of personal injury, the time limit may be extended until the plaintiff’s injuries are properly diagnosed and the damage to injuries are properly diagnosed. If you are a minor when the accident happens, the state of Florida will make an exception to the rule.

A plaintiff may also get an extension if negligence on the part of the defendant is discovered years later. For example, a person may be injured by a product after using it properly. They may consider suing the company but decide not to because of a lack of evidence. If they then discover evidence that the manufacturer knew about the flaw years later, they may get an exception to the time limits.

Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

The time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit may vary greatly by state. Most states have a two-year limitation on personal injury lawsuits.

The state of Florida allows you four years to file a suit. Tennessee has the shortest statute when it comes to filing a personal injury suit. The Volunteer State only allows accident victims one year to file a claim. North Dakota and Maine allow their residents 6 years to file a claim.

In the state of Florida, you will also have 4 years to file a suit for damage to property. Most states allow for more time to sue someone for property damage than they do for personal injury.

According to the website collecting evidence, the best thing you can do is document your accident-related expenses and file your lawsuit as soon as you are able to.

If you are aware of the statute of limitation in your state and you hire a qualified attorney, you will have the best chance of getting the money you deserve. Once you are able to pay your medical bills, you will have more time on your hands for the things you want to do.

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