A Close Look At The Statute of Limitations For Personal Injury Cases

The legal system introduced the rules related to the statute of limitations so that claims would be made before the memories of witnesses had faded, or valuable evidence had been lost or misplaced.

The statute of limitations imposes a deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit. That deadline is the endpoint for a given period of time. That same period also has a starting point. What is that starting point?

The starting point is the date when an injury was discovered. The date of discovery depends on the type of injury suffered. Some injuries have slow-to-appear symptoms. In that case, the date of discovery would be the date when a reasonable person would have recognized the injury’s existence.

Some victims have had trouble filing a lawsuit because their symptoms became noticeable sooner than expected. That was the experience of a woman with asbestos-linked lung cancer, a woman from a family with a genetic predisposition for cancer. She had to seek the expertise of those in the genetic field, in order to gain permission for filing her lawsuit.

How do defendants benefit from the statute of limitations?

• It grants them time for conducting an investigation
• It grants them time for interviewing witnesses
• It grants them time for taking photographs and collecting evidence.

Moreover, all of the above can be done while memories and evidence are fresh and readily available. Personal injury lawyer in Waukegan knows that if a plaintiff does not provide a defendant with the time to carry out the indicated procedures a court will usually dismiss the submitted lawsuit.

What is the typical deadline in a statute of limitations?

Most states expect potential plaintiffs to file a personal injury lawsuit within 2 years of the date when the injury was discovered. However, the limitation period does not run for a minor that has no representative or for a victim that is physically or mentally incapable of filing a lawsuit.

For a minor, the limitation period would be suspended until he or she had reached the age of 18. At that point, the young adult would have 2 years in which to file a lawsuit, if he or she was inclined to do so.

Sometimes, circumstances might make it difficult for a plaintiff to file a lawsuit before the deadline. In that case, the potential plaintiff would need to seek permission for the granting of an ultimate limitation period. An ultimate limitation period would extend the time for filing to a lapsed period of 15 years.

The case does not get settled as soon as the lawsuit/complaint has been filed. First, the plaintiff has to serve the complaint on the defendant. The defendant might move around and make it hard for the plaintiff to serve the complaint.

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