Every state has a certain time limit allotted for a case to be officially filed. This is called a “statute of limitations.” Statute of limitations are attached to everything and prevent prosecutors from charging a person with a crime that has already reached its statute of limitations. The clock for the limitation generally begins at the time the injury occurred. The deadlines for each of the cases depend on the category of case you are filing. For example, debts, libel, and breach of contract all have common statues of around 1 to 6 years. Failing to make a case within the time frame will cause you to forfeit your ability to litigate the case.
States Determine the Laws
The objective of this law is to make sure that trials are based on relevant and current information that has not deteriorated with time. These limitations vary from state to state. Kentucky’s statute of limitations goes as low as one year, Texas’ personal injury lawsuits generally have a two year statute of limitations, and Maine has a six year limit. A skilled personal injury attorney, such as a personal injury attorney in Austin, TX, will know the laws concerning the statute of limitations in your state.
Stopping the Clock
In many cases, people who are injured do not fully understand they were wronged until quite some time after the incident occurred. This generally happens in breach of contract cases, wage law disputes, or in cases of medical malpractice. Something can be done to temporarily pause the clock. Tolling the statute of limitations describes when the metaphorical “clock” on a statute is paused. The idea behind tolling is to give the plaintiffs a fair amount of time to bring the case to court.
Tolling can be requested by the court and the judge will decide whether the reasoning is valid for interrupting the time limit. There are also traditional reasons tolling can occur. If the plaintiff is imprisoned or a minor, or if the defendant has fled there might be some leniency on the timeframe. There has been debate on the subject of when the statute should begin. Some believe that the statute begins when the crime occurred, while others believe the statute should begin when the wrong was discovered or fully comprehended. Some court decisions have gone in favor of the injured party allowing the clock to begin when the injury was discovered. Injuries occur often and are incredibly commonplace, therefore everyone should pay attention to the statutes on each kind of case. Ultimately, statutes of limitations are in place to keep a sense of responsibility and fairness within the court system.
Thanks to Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into the statute of limitations in the court system.