Statutes of limitations are laws that outline how long a person has to launch a lawsuit against a business or person. It is not permissible to launch a claim or litigation relating to the claimed occurrence or event after this time frame, or “statutory deadline,” has elapsed. You are out of luck, for instance, if the statute of limitations for medical malpractice in one state is 2 years and you bring a claim 2 years and 1 day after the alleged incidence. With very few exceptions, a lawsuit cannot be brought against a doctor or hospital after the statutory 2-year window has elapsed, regardless of the cause of action.
Criminal and civil statutes of limitations are the two different categories. The majority of statutes of limitations concern civil cases. Most crimes do not have statutes of limitations, while certain crimes do, such as misdemeanors and minor offenses. For instance, homicide cases can be tried at any moment.
Cases or claims are subject to two separate statutes of limitations depending on the court in which they are filed, in addition to changing by nature. State statutes of limitations apply to state courts, whereas federal statutes of limitations apply to federal courts. Federal statutes of limitations have their own deadlines, and each state will have a different deadline for the same lawsuit. The majority of states have statutes of limitations that typically run from one to six years.
Common Statutes of Limitations
What is a cause of action? It might seem like anything at times. You are further bound by a statute of limitations if your case fits into one of the following categories. Find out how lengthy the law is and how it will apply to you at the state and federal levels. Common civil law legislation include:
- Breach of a written or oral contract
- Medical malpractice
- Childhood sexual abuse
- Personal injury based on negligence or intentional wrongdoing
- Libel or slander
- Domestic violence
- Fraud and misrepresentation
- Property damage from negligence or intentional wrongdoing
How Can Statutes of Limitations Affect Your Case?
Your statute of limitations clock begins to run when the claimed incident or occurrence occurs. However, you could have more time than you think in some instances. The statutory deadline may be prolonged, or “tolled,” as it is referred to in the legal community. A excellent example is when an injury is discovered after the fact; for instance, when it is discovered that a doctor was careless six months after a surgery or when a juvenile under the age of 18 sustained personal injuries as a result of negligence.
Knowing the statutes of limitations that apply to your situation is important for defending your rights. Generally speaking, if you’re considering suing, do it immediately.