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Time limits for personal injury claims

On Behalf of | Nov 10, 2023 | Personal Injury

People are injured unexpectedly every day. This can occur in an auto accident, from a medical mistake, due to a dog bite or simply by slipping and falling. In a perfect world, people confronted by these challenges would be able to think about getting proper treatment, recovering from their injuries and moving on. However, it is not always that easy.

An accident or incident can result in massive medical costs, lost time at work and long-term problems. Seeking compensation through a legal claim is often the primary avenue to achieve justice. However, people might not know what steps to take. There are time limits to file a claim. Failure to adhere to these time limits could sabotage the opportunity to pursue a case.

A claim must be filed within two years

In the commonwealth in general, the person will have two years to file a personal injury claim. There could be questions as to why it would take so long to file a claim. In some cases, people’s injuries are not immediately clear and they do not realize they were hurt severely enough to warrant a claim until a certain amount of time has passed.

This is common with back injuries, neck injuries and head injuries where people do not feel “normal,” but do not realize they were hurt from the accident. There can also be a gap between the first appearance of symptoms until it is accurately diagnosed and linked directly to the accident. It varies slightly if the claim is for injuries to a child. In these cases, the parents will have five years to file a claim.

For medical malpractice, the two-year limit can be extended. If the medical professionals left medical equipment or tools inside a person’s body after surgery, the plaintiff will have one year from the date it was discovered or should have been discovered.

In cases where the medical issue was concealed or there was fraud or misrepresentation that kept the issue from the patient within two years, the person will have one year from when it was discovered or should reasonably have been discovered.

It is important to act as soon as possible

People who have been injured in an accident need to understand that there are time limits to file a case to hold the entity responsible accountable. Those time limits are not set in stone and vary based on how the injury came about, who was hurt and when it was discovered.

These matters can be complicated and people who are already facing an uncertain future because of life-changing injury must be fully aware of their rights. This can happen to anyone, but some people are more vulnerable than others. That includes frequent commuters, elderly people, children and those who are out and about on bicycles or as pedestrians.

Before simply giving up and thinking there are no avenues to recover personally, physically and financially, it is wise to be fully aware of the statute of limitations. This can be a fundamental factor in a case.