Injured persons may initiate civil actions against those who are responsible for their physical state. If they are successful, the courts will direct the liable party to pay them for the damages caused. Civil cases do not result in imprisonment or a criminal record, but they do provide aggrieved parties with just compensation.
However, this right to sue does have a time limit. People cannot drag a very old incident into court, for example. They should file the lawsuit within the prescribed time period as indicated by the statute of limitations in their state. Every state has its own particular set of deadlines, so it is best to check with a local attorney for specifics.
Time Limits for Different Cases
For the state of Utah, for example, the laws prescribe a wide range of time limits for a variety of different case types. This could be as little as one year or as much as eight years. Focusing on personal injury claims, the most common limit is four years, making it important to contact a Salt Lake City injury attorney.
An exception would be medical malpractice claims, which must be initiated within two years. The same time limit applies to product liability suits. It is important to move quickly even if you have years to start the legal action, as there might be unforeseen delays along the way. If you miss the deadline, then the court might no longer accept the case.
When the Clock Starts to Tick
Since time is essential in determining the validity of a lawsuit, injured persons must be mindful of the specifics of the countdown. In most cases, the clock will begin to tick on the day of the accident. You should have ample time to recover from the injuries and get a lawyer to help with the legal processes. This should all work out fine if the injuries are obvious from the beginning. However, this is not always the case. There are situations where the problem gets discovered after the fact, for example.
When the Clock Can Pause
A surgery may initially seem successful, but then months later you feel pain that can be traced to the procedure. Perhaps the doctor did not do a good job on the operation. Maybe tools and materials were left inside your body. Surrounding organs may have been cut or removed along with a tumor.
In a car accident, occupants may not exhibit external bleeding, but it may turn out that they are actually suffering from internal trauma. It may then be argued that the clock should only begin to tick on the date of discovering the injuries.
Rationale for the Statute of Limitations
People who can pursue personal injury claims should do so immediately. The court will not tolerate unnecessary delays and laziness. The time limits also benefit the victims as they ensure that the evidence will be collected within a reasonable period. If a person waits for many years before filing a lawsuit, there is a good chance that the witnesses will have forgotten the details of what they saw. Evidence will also be harder to find for both the plaintiff and the defendant. Digging into dormant claims may only result in cruelty to those who have already moved on from the incident.
The statute of limitations is a complex subject that requires a highly trained mind to fully understand all of its nuances. If you have any questions, then contact an experienced injury attorney. Set up a meeting to discuss your concerns right away.