If you’ve suffered an accident and seek to file a personal injury lawsuit, one of the obstacles you may come up against is the statute of limitations for pursuing civil action.
What is a statute of limitations and what does it have to do with my personal injury case?
A statute of limitations is a deadline for when you can pursue your case. In South Carolina personal injury statute of limitations last up to three years. If you try to file your case after this deadline, you likely won’t get your day in court.
Given that your legal right to file a personal injury lawsuit has a statute of limitations, what can you do if it appears that you’ve run out of time?
Check if you really have passed the deadline
When does the three-year window for filing your case actually begin? Typically, it starts on the day of your accident or injury. However, what happens if you don’t initially realize you’re injured? Maybe the effects of the accident only manifested years later, after weakening your body in subtle ways. Perhaps, in your case, the window of time for the statute of limitations would begin with the discovery or diagnosis of the injury; you need to check with an accident attorney as soon as possible if this is the case, to help you determine if you can still file suit. There is no time to waste if you’re afraid you have already run out of time!
Exceptions to the statue of limitations that may help you
Other details may also emerge that could possibly influence how the courts consider statutes of limitation. For instance, if you suffered a car accident, and years later the car manufacturer issued a recall for the type of vehicle you were driving, it may be possible to file a suit in light of these new developments if they could have contributed to your crash. A single injurious accident could be the source of multiple cases or claims over the years.
Under certain circumstances, you may also have a greater window of time in which to file if you were a minor during the time of the accident or were mentally incapacitated. Again, this is something you need to discuss with a personal injury lawyer to determine how your case should be considered.
What if you’ve passed the statute of limitations for your case?!
Even if you fear that you’ve passed the statute of limitations for your case, don’t hesitate to contact us. In various ways, your situation may prove to be atypical or you may not have missed the deadline at all. The process for filing personal injury claims can be complicated and confusing. We can review your case and give you advice and legal assistance on how you should proceed.