Every state places their own deadline on the right to file a lawsuit after a slip and fall accident. For example, it could be a few years or even 10 years. Anyone injured in a slip and fall accident on a commercial property may be able to pursue a monetary settlement through civil litigation. However, there are specific statute of limitations rules that apply to personal injury lawsuits. The article below introduces these laws and explains the exceptions and possible extensions for slip and fall cases.
What is the Definition of a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations is a general term for any state law that establishes a time frame for filing a lawsuit. Every kind of legal claim has its own statute of limitations, such as medical malpractice and product liability. Furthermore, every state has its own particular statute of limitation for each claim category. The statute of limitations for most states is two years with some being up to three or four. However, one state goes up to 10 years.
What are the Consequences of Filing a Late Lawsuit?
State legislature establishes strict deadlines for statute of limitations. As a general rule, failure to file a slip and fall lawsuit in time will result in automatic rejection of your case. While anyone can still file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations expires, it will most likely be dismissed without question. In fact, you may even be liable to pay for the defendant’s legal costs.
When Does the Statute of Limitations Begin in a Slip And Fall Case?
The statute of limitations in a slip and fall case typically starts on the same day of the injury. Therefore, anyone living in a state with a three-year statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits would have three years from the day of the injury to file the lawsuit.
Is it Possible to Extend the Statute of Limitations?
Many states have a few provisions for extending the statute of limitations deadline. Extensions may be granted if the defendant left the state after the negligent accident occurred. In addition to this, extensions are granted if the plaintiff was a minor, mentally ill or mentally incapacitated after the accident occurred.
Consider the following scenario. The defendant leaves the state for a year after your slip and fall incident. If the state’s statute of limitations is two years, the deadline would be extended another year. Keep in mind that circumstances such as this can be difficult to prove in court. Therefore, it is recommended to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Extending The Statute of Limitations
The most common reason for the statute of limitations being extended is because the plaintiff was a minor. The statute of limitations for a minor in most states does not begin until they turn 18 years old. Therefore, in a state with a two-year deadline, a minor who has a slip and fall accident would have until their 20th birthday to file a lawsuit.
Are there any Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations?
The good news is that there is also a common exception to the statute of limitations. The discovery rule is an exception specifically geared towards injured people who were not immediately aware of their injury or the defendant’s potential negligence.
For example, in a state with a two-year limitation for personal injury claims, the discovery rule would determine the statute of limitation to begin only after the plaintiff knew they were injured and knew who caused the harm. In addition to this, the plaintiff could have received sufficient notice of the injury or responsible party.
Always Seek Professional Legal Assistance
Because of the complexity of these types of cases, it is critical to always consult with both a medical professional and qualified personal injury attorney after a slip and fall accident. The experienced litigators at The Brown Firm PLLC are dedicated to defending your rights and seeking appropriate compensation from the negligent parties.
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