A statute of limitations is the maximum amount of time you have to file a lawsuit. If you do not file a lawsuit before the time limit, then your lawsuit will likely be thrown out. This will destroy your case.
The time limit starts when the injury occurs under most circumstances. For personal injury cases, like automobile accidents and slip/trip and fall injuries, there are two potential time limits.
Three Year Time Limit
The three year statute of limitations is the general time limit for most personal injury cases, excluding medical malpractice cases. For example, you generally have three years to file a lawsuit from the date of a car accident.
Two Year Time Limit
Some personal injury cases have a two year statute of limitations if the injury was caused by a government department or person working as a government employee (police officer, county employee, etc).
Some Exceptions Exist
There are limited exceptions to the start date. One exception exists for minors—you have extra time. A second exception exists for exposure cases. For example, if you were exposed to asbestos and develop problems years later. If you believe an exception should apply to your case, you must talk to a lawyer right away.
Properly calculating the statute of limitations is crucial to your case. If you have any questions about what the statute of limitations is on your case, please call me for a consultation at 888-510-3959