A Message Regarding COVID-19: We are available to consult with you during this difficult and extraordinary time. If you, a family member or friend have been injured in an accident, our first concern is that you focus in the near future on your health and well being as well as that of your family and friends. Please feel free to contact us by phone or email with legal questions you may have concerning your accident, or other areas of the law. We are here to help. Be safe. Thanks.

Auto Accident Lawyer

Wondering why anyone would need to know the statute of limitations for personal injury claims? Shouldn’t a person know immediately if they have a claim? It may not always be as obvious as it seems. For instance, you may have been involved in a car accident where you either felt your injuries were minor or you didn’t feel injured at all. The other driver’s insurance paid for damages promptly. Basically, you felt everything had been handled. However, a year later you are having trouble feeling your hands and feet and have tingling in your extremities. You go to your doctor and discover that you have nerve impingement due to whiplash from your car accident. What do you do now? Can you still file a claim for personal injury? The answer could change based on where you live and the type of claim.

State Statutes

Most commonly, the statute of limitations for negligence claims is 3 years from the time you notice the injury. However, this could be different according to the state in which you reside. In Tennessee, the statute of limitations for injury claims is 1 year. In Florida, it is 4 years. Missouri has a 5 year limit on injury claims. In Maine and North Dakota, the time limit goes to 6 years. Most other states range from 2-3 years.

Claims against Government

Making a personal injury claim against the government is subject to special rules. Generally, the common law concept of sovereign immunity states that a government can’t be sued without its consent. However, there are exceptions. In the case of civil rights violations, Section 183 claims can be made up to 180 days after the incident occurs. Some examples of this type of claim would be the use of unnecessary force, unreasonable search, and seizure, false arrest or violation of due process. In the case of personal injury, the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) allows private citizens to recover losses due to the acts of a government representative during the scope of their jobs. The statute for an FTCA claim is 2 years.

Discovery Rule 

The discovery rule extends the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in most states. This can apply after the statue has run if 1) the injured party did not know they were injured or 2) if the injured party did not know that the potential defendant caused the injury or loss. In our introductory example, the discovery rule may apply if you live in Tennessee and the statute of limitations is 1 year. Since you did not know you were injured, the discovery rule would say that the time limit starts at the point you discover the injury.

If you have had a recent injury or discovered that you were injured previously without your knowledge, consult an auto accident lawyer for help.