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Personal Injury Cases: How Long Do You Have to File?

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Personal Injury

Wisconsin accident attorney, injury liability, Wisconsin injury lawyer, Wisconsin tort lawAfter an accident or injury, some individuals choose not to file a personal injury case. It may be that, initially, the accident or injury seems inconsequential, or it could be a simple case of not understanding one’s rights to seek compensation. Whatever the reason, it may eventually come to light that the implications are further reaching than initially realized and, in order to ensure proper care and medical treatment, the pursuit of a personal injury lawsuit may become essential. The real question is, can you still file?

Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations provides would-be defendants in personal injury cases with a time limitation on how long they may be held liable. This statute varies greatly from state to state, ranging anywhere from one to six years. For example, North Dakota offers six years to automobile accident victims while only plaintiffs in Louisiana only have a year to file. Wisconsin’s statute of limitations is three years.

Discovery Clause

Because the implications of an accident or injury may not be immediately detectable or understood, all states have a discovery clause within their statute of limitations. This simply means that the clock on each state’s statute of limitations does not start until the cause of an injury is determined and traced back to an accident or incident.

If, for example, your spine is injured in an automobile accident but the injury is not initially detected or cannot immediately be traced back to the accident, your clock on the statute of limitations will not start until the injury or its initial cause is traced to the source. It is important to note, however, that most states also have a statute of repose concept that requires you to investigate the cause of your injury within a timely manner.

Statute of Limitations Exceptions

Although the state’s statute of limitations generally stands as is, there are some exceptions that may lengthen the time in which you have to file your personal injury case. These include:

  • Leaving the state for a period of time (note that you cannot leave the state, simply to extend the clock),
  • Being a minor at the time of an accident or injury,
  • And mental disability.

However, it is important to note that none of these exceptions can ensure your case will not exceed the state’s statute of limitations. Instead, it is advised that you pursue your case as soon as possible to increase your chances of receiving fair compensation.

Do Not Face a Personal Injury Case Alone

Because personal injury cases are often complex, it is advised that you seek skilled, professional help early on. With more than 40 years of experience, Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, Attorneys at Law, can help protect your rights. Schedule a consultation with our dedicated and respected Milwaukee personal injury attorneys by calling 414-271-1440 today.



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