Statutes Of Limitations
The time limit within which a lawsuit must be brought is called a statute of limitation.
That time period varies from state to state and depending upon the nature of the
case. There may also be specific notice requirements when dealing with certain
governmental entities as potential defendants. If a lawsuit is not filed within
the proper time limit that applies to the case, the right to sue and recover damages
is forever lost.
There are a couple of exceptions to the time limits that would normally apply
to an injury claim. Measuring the statute of limitations for a particular situation
can be a complex issue. For instance, under the discovery rule, the time begins
to run from when the person who is injured knew, or by the exercise of reasonable
diligence should have known, that he or she was injured. The discovery rule
is commonly applied in cases involving exposure to toxic substances and in some
medical malpractice cases. In such cases, an injured victim may not know of
his or her injuries until after the time limits had already expired.
Another exception applies to children. Typically, the time does not begin to run
for an injury until the child reaches 18 years of age. These special rules may
also apply to people who are mentally impaired or who leave the state for particular
kinds of reasons such as for military service.