You hear Louisville personal injury lawyers say this all the time: “Act fast, or your personal injury lawsuit could be forever barred.” Or you may have heard advertisements warning you that you have a “limited time” to file your lawsuit. But are all these assertions actually true? Is there really a time limit to file your personal injury lawsuit?
These calls to action are in fact true. There are time limits to file personal injury claims, after which time, you lose the chance to file your lawsuit forever. These laws are called statutes of limitations.
Statutes of limitations are not unique to personal injury cases. Every kind of civil case, and even many criminal cases, has time limits. All people are subject to filing their lawsuit within a specific amount of time, as stated by the statute of limitations.
After the deadline expires, if you have not already filed your lawsuit, you will not ever be able to file your lawsuit. In other words, your ability to obtain financial compensation from the liable parties will be forfeited. So, Act fast and call Claim Your Justice.
The law has statutes of limitations because the law recognizes that a defendant at some point, must feel safe from being sued. There must be a time when a business or person is safe throwing away records, or destroying what would be evidence without worrying whether they could be sued later on. People cannot go their entire lives worried about whether they will be sued for something that happened 3, 5, 10, or 20 years ago.
The law also recognizes that as time goes on, witnesses’ memories fade, die, or they move away. Evidence disappears. It is hard to get to the truth of what happened in each accident when an accident happened 20 years ago.
Every state has its own statute of limitations, so you should not rely on just anything you read on the internet to figure out how long you have to file your case. A good Louisville personal injury lawyer can analyze your case, and explain to you Kentucky’s statute of limitations for how long you have to file your case.
Compared to other states, Kentucky has a shorter statute of limitations. You only have one year to file your personal injury claims in Kentucky. The one-year time applies to cases like slip and fall accidents, medical malpractice, intentional harms, negligent security claims, or products liability claims.
The “clock starts ticking” on that one-year time, on the day of your accident. Note that this is the day of the accident and not the day that you discover you may be injured. Although there are situations where the delayed discovery of your injuries could extend the statute of limitations, as discussed below.
You protect the statute of limitations, by filing a lawsuit in court. Making a claim with the defendant’s insurance company or sending demand letters, does not protect the time deadlines of the statute of limitations.
Injuries that arise from car accidents get some extra time. If you are injured in a car accident, you will have two years to file your lawsuit. Even better, that two years either starts on the day of the accident, or on the day that you received the last insurance payments from your own personal protection insurance coverage, whichever date happens later. Kentucky Revised Statutes 304.39-230 Limitations of actions.
Although car accidents can have a statute of limitations that goes a bit beyond two years, that is still a short amount of time to file a lawsuit.
All of Kentucky’s statutes of limitations have some exceptions which can extend the time stated in the laws. If someone is:
The time to file the lawsuit is extended to one year after the removal of the infirmity.
Practically, for minors, this will mean the lawsuit has to be filed within one year after the minor hits adulthood, age 18.
If someone’s injury is due to a defective product, or because of medical malpractice, and they are not aware that the injury is caused by a product or a doctor’s negligence, the law may provide some extended time. The one-year time limitation for products liability claims is extended in these cases, up to 5 years.
However, the time limit to file a lawsuit for medical malpractice will only be 1 year from the date that the injury or negligence was discovered.
There are also some extensions that the courts will provide, if the defendant hides from being served, or is absent from the state of Kentucky for an extended period. Some defendants “hide” from being served with personal injury lawsuits in Kentucky. As a result, the court will allow you some extra time to file your lawsuit, if you were delayed by a defendant’s trying to conceal himself.
You can also try to get the insurance company for the defendant, or the defendant itself, to agree to extend the statute of limitations. Sometimes, the defendant will agree to this. In instances where you are making meaningful headway towards resolving your case and the statute of limitations is quickly approaching. However, you should not rely on this. An insurance company often would rather take the chance that you don’t file, and thus that you miss the statute of limitations deadline.
If you try to file your personal injury lawsuit after the expiration of the deadline set by the statute of limitations, you can expect that the defendant will ask the court to dismiss your case. If the court finds that your case was filed too late, it will be dismissed by the judge. That means that you will not get to a jury or have your day in court.
It also means that any offer that the insurance company may have made to settle your case before you filed the lawsuit, will be withdrawn.
Although these time frames may seem lengthy, they in fact are not lengthy at all. In most cases, you cannot just walk into your Louisville personal injury attorney’s office, and have your case filed the next day. Your attorney will need time to get your documents and records and evaluate your claim.
In a car accident case, your attorney may want accident reconstruction experts to recreate the accident. This often happens when there are disputed versions of who caused the car accident, or how it happened or in very serious injury car accident r car accidents causing fatalities.
In some cases, like with products liability or medical malpractice cases, your attorney may want to get an expert to review your documents and evaluate the merits of your lawsuit.
In fact, Kentucky law requires, in malpractice cases, that a victim files a certificate of merit that says that an expert has reviewed the victim’s medical records. This accounts for further action that must be done by your attorney before your malpractice lawsuit can be filed.
You may also need time for follow-up medical treatment, or to find additional defendants who may be liable for your accident.
Additionally, the last thing you want is to be “under the gun,” facing an expiring statute of the limitations time limit, while you are negotiating with the insurance company. The insurance company will know the deadline is approaching. That likely will lead them to give you lower offers.
You can also run into problems with unknown defendants if you file your lawsuit just before the statute of limitations has expired.
For example, you slip on the floor of Store A, and you sue Store A within the one-year statute of limitations. But then in the lawsuit Store A says that its cleaning company is the one who was liable. In this case, it could be too late to sue the cleaning company. Because you waited until the last minute you have now lost the opportunity to sue defendants who you did not know were liable, but actually were liable in full or in part for your injuries.
It is true, you should act fast and Call us Now if you have been injured in an accident so that your personal injury attorney in Louisville can help you. Putting yourself in the best position to secure maximum recovery means connecting with an experienced legal professional soon after your injury accident happens.
There are several steps that are necessary during the personal injury claim process, and anything can change or cause delays. Taking full advantage of the time that is defined in Kentucky’s personal injury statute of limitations is in your best interest.
Call our experienced, talented, and proficient Schaumberg personal injury attorneys at Claim Your Justice today to schedule a free no-obligation consultation at 1-888-885-3484.
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