Statute of Limitations

Statute of Limitations

How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?

No one-size-fits-all answer exists. Every state has time limits, called statutes of limitations, and the time within which you must file a lawsuit varies according to the type of claim, even within the state. For example, in West Virginia, you have two years to act on a case involving injury and/or property damage.

For example, rules in one state might allow a plaintiff with a personal injury claim (such as a broken leg) one year from the date of injury to file suit, and a plaintiff with a breach of contract claim (such as failure to make good on a promissory note) four years from the date of breach to sue. In another state, plaintiffs could have two years for personal injury cases, and five years for breach of contract claims. In West Virginia, you have two years to act on a case involving injury and/or property damage.

Consider consulting a lawyer if you might have a claim or someone might have a claim against you; the rules can be complex.

How Does the Statute of Limitations Work?

All states have passed statutes of limitations, which set strict deadlines for the filing of different kinds of lawsuits in the state’s civil court system. Most states have a statute of limitations that specifically applies to personal injury cases (or to lawsuits alleging negligence). Whatever statute of limitations applies to your potential case, if the deadline has passed and you try to file a lawsuit anyway, your case will almost certainly be dismissed. There are exceptions that could effectively extend the filing deadline, but they’re fairly rare.

In a personal injury case, the statute of limitations usually begins running on the day you were injured. For example, in a car accident case, it’s the date on which the crash occurred.

Coronavirus and Your Case

The COVID-19 outbreak is having a severe impact on the operations of civil courts across the country, forcing courts to prioritize criminal matters over less urgent civil cases. Some courts are tolling – stopping temporarily – civil statute of limitations periods during the coronavirus pandemic to help reduce case backlog.

Personal Injury cases have always been complex, but now more than every you may need legal advice. Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, is here for you. Learn more about us at jandils.com or call us at 877.526.3457. You can also fill out this form and we will respond to you shortly.

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Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law

Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law