When you’re hurt because of the actions of someone else, you may be able to bring a lawsuit for compensation. If someone acts negligently, recklessly or intentionally, they may be liable to you for your losses. However, there are strict time limits to bring your case. The deadline for bringing a claim for compensation is called a statute of limitations. Here’s what you need to know about the statute of limitations in a personal injury case in Massachusetts:
What is a Statute of Limitations in a Personal Injury Case?
A statute of limitations creates time limits on personal injury claims in Massachusetts. That means you have until time runs out to begin your case. Even if you have a great claim for recovery and all of the evidence is in your favor, you still must file your case by the deadline.
The statute of limitations is a law. Massachusetts law Part III, Title V, Chapter 250 section 2A gives the statute of limitations in Massachusetts. It’s not the courts that created the statute of limitations. Instead, Massachusetts lawmakers created the statute of limitations after debating what they thought was fair for everyone involved.
What is the Statute of Limitations in Massachusetts?
The statute of limitations on a personal injury lawsuit is three years. The statute of limitations on a personal injury case is three years no matter what your injuries are or how you got hurt. A personal injury is a type of tort. The Massachusetts law that sets the statute of limitations in MA makes the limit three years for all types of personal injury cases.
The Massachusetts statute of limitations personal injury applies until you file your case. If you file your case even one day before the time limit expires, you’ve met the deadline. If you get your case filed on time, it doesn’t matter how long it takes for the case to move through the legal system. For example, if you file your case at two years and eleven months and your case takes six months to move through the legal system, you’ve met the deadline because you filed your case before three years expired.
What Happens If I Miss the Statute of Limitations?
If you miss the personal injury statute of limitations, you miss the opportunity to bring your case. You can still file your case, but the other side can ask the court to throw it out without even hearing the merits. It doesn’t matter how strong your case is.
If the other side asks the court to throw out the case based on it being past the time limit to file the case, the court will dismiss the case. The rule is unforgiving. If you miss the deadline, you can still file your case, but there’s a good chance that the other side is going to ask the court to dismiss it based on the statute of limitations.
When Does the Statute of Limitations in a Personal Injury Case Begin?
Personal injury deadlines begin on the day that you get hurt. Typically, the very day that your injury occurs is when the clock starts ticking for you to file your case within the time limits. The statute of limitations in MA doesn’t go down to the minute or the hour. As long as you file the case within three years of the day your injury occurs, you’re within the time limit.
Are There Any Ways to Extend the Statute of Limitations?
There are a few ways that the statute of limitations in a personal injury case may be extended. First, if the person responsible for your injuries lives outside of the state, the time limits can stop until the person lives in the state. In addition, in some cases, you may not know that you were hurt until some time after your injury occurs. Although it’s unlikely not to know about an injury right away, if you have the type of injury that doesn’t show right away, you may have more time to file your claim so that you can discover your injuries and bring your claim. Finally, if a minor gets hurt, they may have time to bring their case after they reach the age of majority.
Is the Statute of Limitations the Same for all Types of Cases?
The three-year statute of limitations is the limit for all personal injury cases. The time limits may be different for other types of cases. For example, time limitations for the state to file criminal charges are often much longer. However, if you have a claim based on a personal injury that isn’t a criminal case, the time limit is three years.
Why Does Massachusetts Have a Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations in MA exists for several reasons. First, evidence may be harder to find after a period of time. People can forget details as time goes on, or they can move away. In addition, having a personal injury statute of limitations can bring finality for both plaintiffs and defendants who can know after a period of time that there’s no standing to pursue a claim.
What Can I do to Protect Myself?
To protect your interests in light of the statute of limitations in a personal injury case, it’s important to begin pursuing your case as soon as you’re aware of an injury. In addition to making sure your case gets filed on time, pursuing your claim immediately after an injury can help you preserve important evidence and take other steps to make sure that you get a fair recovery. Contacting a qualified personal injury lawyer can help you navigate this complex process and get you the compensation you deserve.