The Significance of The Statute of Limitations

The laws that have established the statute of limitations within a given judicial district go largely unnoticed by the citizens that do not have much contact with members of the legal community. Sometimes, those individuals with a personal injury claim discover too late the significance of the statute of limitations.

What is the statute of limitations?

Those are laws that specify the deadline for initiation of a personal injury lawsuit. Someone that has sustained an injury in an accident has the ability to initiate such a lawsuit by filing a personal injury complaint. That complaint must be filed with the court by the date that has been specified by the statute’s deadline.

The passage of time determines when the deadline has arrived for a particular claimant. The clock starts ticking on the day of the accident. Depending on the location of that same accident, claimants that want to preserve their right to proceed with a lawsuit have between 1 and 6 years in which to file a complaint.

What it means to miss the deadline

Usually, a court will not agree to accept a claimant’s complaint, if it has been presented to the same court following the time when the deadline has passed. Still, there are exceptions to that rule. For that reason, smart claimants consult with a Personal Injury Lawyer in Ottawa, even if their inattention to the date has led to failure to act (file a complaint) on time.

Common exceptions:

The discovery rule—This states that the statute’s clock does not start until the plaintiff knew, or should have known that he/she had a personal injury claim. A statute gets paused during the period when a defendant might be out of the state. At that time the plaintiff would not be able to serve the defendant. An exception can be made if the plaintiff is a minor or has been declared mentally incompetent.

Other exceptions:

• The plaintiff had military service, or was in jail.
• The plaintiff has died.
• The country is in a state of war.

Claimants that do not have to worry about deadlines, or exceptions to deadlines

Those are the ones that have filed an insurance claim, but do not plan to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. Their decision to forego the chance to file a lawsuit provides them with a possible path to a quick settlement.

Still, their decision has also deprived them of an opportunity. If challenges to their claim were to arise, no challenge could be fought in a courtroom. In other words, following a first party claim, the claimant would have to comply with any ruling made by the claimant’s insurance company. Following a 3rd party claim, the defendant’s insurance company could make rulings.