Although most people don’t realize it, this can be a really complicated and tricky question. Most law firms (including Curran Law Firm) won’t give you a simple answer over the phone if you call and ask us question. It’s not that we don’t want to give you information – it’s that we don’t want to give you wrong information. The answer depends on many factors, including such things as:
- what state you’re suing in;
- what state the injury happened in;
- exactly what type of claims you’re going to include in your lawsuit;
- the age of the injured person (in many places the statute of limitations doesn’t start to run until you reach a certain age, so if a child is hurt the statute of limitations might not even start to run for many years);
Here is an example: someone runs a red light and hits a car in which Jim is a passenger. How long is the applicable statute of limitations?
Well, if Jim is simply injured, as a general rule, as of August 2021, the statute of limitations in Missouri for a typical personal injury that happened in Missouri is five years. But that general statement has many different exceptions and complications.
For instance, if the person who injured you dies (even from completely unrelated reasons), then Jim might have to file his claim within one year of the date of the death (even if Jim doesn’t know about the death!) and if he fails to do that, his claim may be limited to certain amounts.
But suppose Jim actually died from his injuries. In that case, a different statute of limitations applies, since now it’s a wrongful death lawsuit instead of a general injury lawsuit.
Or suppose Jim wants to file a medical malpractice lawsuit arising out of his treatment from these injuries – that suit would have a completely different statute of limitations.
Or suppose Jim had a long-standing feud with the guy who hit him. If Jim sues claiming the driver did it on purpose, there is a shorter statute of limitations than if Jim sues him for doing it accidentally.
Or suppose the defendant is a governmental entity, such as a city? Some claims require that a formal written notice be sent to specific government employees within just days after the injury, or you lose all your rights. (Technically those are called “notices of claims” instead of “statutes of limitations,” but the end result is the same: you lose the right to recover if you don’t comply with all of the requirements.)
So a lawyer can’t give you a good answer to this question without getting a lot of information and doing a detailed analysis. That’s why we can’t do it over the phone, but after learning all the facts of your situation and consultation, we will be happy to give you our opinion on that issue.