Time Limits in a Personal Injury Case

Authored by Wendy Witt, Esq.

Why You Should Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer as Soon as Possible?

All personal injury cases must be brought within a certain time limit or be forever barred. The law includes time limits because when too much time passes, evidence is lost and a defendant may not be able to fairly and adequately defend the case.

  • A statute of limitations is a time limit for bringing a legal claim against the person or company who caused you injury.
  • If you don't file your case within the applicable statute of limitations, your case will be barred.
  • If your case is barred, you won't be allowed to file suit and you won't receive financial compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and the like.

While injury related statutes of limitation usually range from 1 to 4 years, they vary greatly from state to state. It's in your best interests to consult with a personal injury lawyer licensed in your state to find out how much time you have to file.

Statutes of Limitation - Examples
Here are examples of personal injury statutes of limitation.

Note there are often special rules for children who are injured extending the time allowed to bring a cause of action.

How to Determine the Statute of Limitations in Your Case
We highly recommend that you consult with a personal injury lawyer, licensed in your state, to find out the statute of limitations in your case.

While you can do an Internet search, there may be factors such as hidden injury or the age of the injured person that extend the statute of limitations.

How to Find a Personal Injury Lawyer
For quick free and private results, search for a PI lawyer on our site, www.attorneys.org. Or, you could ask a friend for a referral or get a list of personal injury attorneys from the bar association. We wish you healing and a healthy future.

  • Alabama Statutes of Limitation
    • Wrongful death = 2 years from date of death.
    • Medical malpractice = 2 years from the action or inaction that caused injury or if the 2 years has passed without discovery of the injury, within 6 months of the time the injury was or should have been discovered. 4 years from action or inaction that caused injury is the maximum time limit.
    • Injury caused by car accident = 2 years from the date of the car accident. Most personal injury actions have a 2-year statute of limitations.
    • Injury caused by defective product, including defective medication = 1 year from date of injury; unless injury was afflicted over time, then the statute of limitations is 1 year from date injury was or should have been discovered. (Action must be brought against an initial seller within 10 years, unless waived in writing.)
  • California Statutes of Limitation
    • Wrongful death = 2 years from the date of death, unless death is caused by asbestos exposure. In an asbestos case, the lawsuit must be filed within 1 year from the date loved ones first knew or should have known that asbestos caused or contributed to death.
    • Medical malpractice = 3 years from the action or inaction that caused injury or 1 year from the time the injury is discovered or should have been discovered. However, if the malpractice claim is based upon a foreign object being left in the body, the statute of limitations doesn't run until the injured person discovered or should have discovered the object.
    • Injury caused by car accident = 2 years from the date of the car accident.
    • Injury caused by defective product, including defective medication = 2 years from date of injury.
  • Pennsylvania Statutes of Limitation
    • Wrongful death = 2 years from the date of death.
    • Medical malpractice = 2 years from the action or inaction that caused injury.
    • Injury caused by car accident = 2 years from the date of the car accident. However, if the injured person didn't realize he or she was injured, the 2- year statute of limitations runs from the date of discovery of the injury or from the date the injury should have been discovered.
    • Injury caused by defective product, including medication = 2 years from date of injury; unless injury was over time, then the statute of limitations is 2 year from date injury was or should have been discovered.
  • New York Statutes of Limitation
    • Wrongful death = 2 years from the date of death.
    • Medical malpractice = 30 months (2.5 years) from the action or inaction that caused injury.
    • Injury caused by car accident = 3 years from the date of the car accident.
    • Injury caused by defective product, including medication = 3 or 4 years from date of injury.
  • Illinois Statutes of Limitation
    • Wrongful death = 2 years from the date of death.
    • Medical malpractice = 2 years from act that caused injury or 2 years from when the injury was or should have been discovered.
    • Injury caused by car accident = 2 years from the date of the car accident.
    • Injury caused by defective product, including medication = 2 years from date of injury or 2 years from the date the injury was discovered or should have been discovered; however, there is a maximum 8 year time limit.

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