What Is the Statute of Limitations?


If you are planning on filing a personal injury lawsuit, you need to know what the statute of limitations is. You may have heard this legal term before, but not fully understood it. Essentially, the statute of limitations is the time limit you have to file your personal injury suit. As you would expect, this is incredibly important as you try to focus on getting better before pursuing financial compensation. Learn everything you need to know about the statute of limitations in this article.

The Statute of Limitations

You can think of the statute of limitations as a time limit. If you file a lawsuit before it expires, you will be able to move forward, but if you file a lawsuit after it expires, it will be thrown out entirely. The statute of limitations begins counting down at the time of the injury. Lawsuits can take months or years to complete, but that does not need to happen within the statute of limitations. It is only the time limit to file the lawsuit initially. However, even the process of filing may take several days or weeks. This is why you should not delay any longer than you need to before filing.

Your next question is probably about how long the statute of limitations is. Its length varies from one state to the next. The type of lawsuit also affects the length, but your situation only allows for personal injury suits. Most states have a statute of limitations of either two or three years for personal injury lawsuits. There are about 10 states with a different length statute of limitations, which will either be one, four, five, or six years.

The Discovery Rule

There are basically no exceptions to the statute of limitations, so it is incredibly important that you file your lawsuit before it expires. There is, however, one possible exception. The discovery rule states:

  • The statute of limitations does not begin until the identity of the person who caused your injury is discovered.
  • The statute of limitations does not begin until the injury is discovered.

Although it is uncommon, you might have some extra time if the person who caused your accident fled the scene and you did not discover who they were until later. Sometimes it is also possible to be injured and not even realize it. For the most part, the discovery rule is meant to avoid penalizing people who would otherwise be at a disadvantage. To file your lawsuit, find a personal injury lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer in Memphis, TN, who best fits your needs.

Thanks to Wiseman Bray PLLC for their insight into what the statute of limitations is.