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How long do you have to sue for personal injuries

Mar 08, 2022
Shamis & Gentile, P.A.
Personal Injury Lawyer

If you want to win compensation for a personal injury, it is vital that you file your lawsuit in time. While the majority of people won’t wait for very long to sue for personal injuries, others may delay it for various reasons. Some may only start to pursue the case after a long recovery. Others only realize that they even have a case after a considerable amount of time has passed. In most cases, there is a fairly sizeable window of time after the injury occurs, in which a plaintiff can file a lawsuit. However, this window does close eventually, and if you have a strong case, you should take the opportunity to file a lawsuit while you still can.

How long do I have to file my lawsuit?

The problem is that there is no one correct answer to this question. It depends on two main variables: the statute of limitations in your state, and the type of injury. Each state has a different statute of limitations for each type of injury. For example, in one state, you may have one year to sue after suffering a broken leg, but four years to file if you want to sue someone for defamation of character. In another state, those limits might be two years and three years respectively. The best thing to do if you are not sure is to consult a personal injury lawyer and see what applies in your specific case.

When does the clock start ticking for statutes of limitations?

The question of when the clock actually starts ticking with regard to a specific case is a more complex one than it may seem at first. The general rule is that the time is calculated from the “date of harm,” i.e. the date on which the accident, injury or damage occurred. However, this is not always helpful for some plaintiffs, because it is possible that the injury or damage might only be discovered years after the actual event. In these cases, the clock starts ticking on  the ”date of discovery.” By this measure, if you suffer an injury at work, but the symptoms only start to show and affect your quality of life two years later, the statute of limitations will only apply from the time those ill effects are discovered.

There is also a third possibility. In some cases, the law may establish what it regards as a reasonable period during which the harm should have been discovered. The judge may declare that the plaintiff ought to have known about the harm during this period – even if, in reality, the plaintiff had not yet discovered it. 

Statutes of Limitations Vary by State

As mentioned earlier, statutes of limitations differ in each state. In Florida, the statute of limitations on personal injuries is four years, as set out in the Florida Statutes Section 95.11. In New York, it is only three years, according to the New York Civil Practice Law & Rules Section 214.

Contact a personal injury lawyer

Shamis & Gentile provides outstanding legal services in Florida and New York. When you bring your case to us, you will always work with a seasoned personal injury attorney who has an excellent track record. We are progressive and trusted within the legal community, and we are often called upon to settle cases that other law firms may not be able to handle on their own. If you are planning to sue someone for personal injuries, but are unsure about time limits and other factors, book a consultation with a personal injury lawyer.

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