Lawsuits for injuries can only be brought within certain time limits. After that, you cannot recover for your injuries. So, one of the first things your lawyer needs to know, is when the lawsuit must be filed.

One-year statute of limitations.

Generally, you have one-year to file suit for personal injury or wrongful death. The clock starts the day you get hurt. In some situations, there are exceptions for minors and other people who are not capable of making decisions for themselves (interdicts). A personal injury lawyer can tell you more about whether those situations apply to your claim.

The “Discovery Rule”

The “discovery rule” says the clock does not start until you have actual or constructive knowledge of facts indicating you are the victim of a tort, have suffered damage, and that the defendant caused your damage. If you do not know, then you cannot sue. The existence of constructive knowledge is more nuanced than actual knowledge.

Constructive knowledge means knowing enough to incite curiosity, to excite attention, or to put you on guard and call for inquiry. You cannot wait. You must investigate. The court will find that you knew what you could have discovered through reasonable effort, even if you did not carry out that effort. But it will also consider your act, after studying your education and intelligence in light of the nature of the defendant’s conduct.

Medical malpractice claims must be brought within 3 years

A lawsuit against a doctor for medical malpractice is subject to the one-year statute of limitations and the discovery rule. However, in these cases the discovery rule cuts off at three-years from the day the doctor hurt you. So, no matter what, these claims must be filed within three years from the day of the doctor’s negligence.  But these limits only apply to “malpractice” as defined by law. All other liability of health care providers is subject to the normal rules. (For example, it is not malpractice when a doctor hits someone with their car.).

Hire an experienced personal injury lawyer

In a typical injury case, you will need to bring your claim within one-year of the event that caused your injury. This is one of the first things your lawyer will need to consider. If you or a loved one have been injured or killed as the result of someone else’s wrongful conduct the clock is ticking.

An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you protect your rights to make sure time does not run out on your claims.

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