If you are the victim of carelessness, negligence, a defective product or other forms of harm, you may have waited a bit to file suit. Every state places a limit on the amount of time that victims have to file a claim against the wrongdoer, and it varies from as little as a year to several years from the time of the injury. You should understand, however, that there are some pretty important exceptions to the statute of limitations rules, so read on to learn more.
The Discovery of Harm
It's difficult to take action against someone if you had no idea that you were being harmed, so one of the most common exceptions to the statute of limitations involves harm that happened to you without your knowledge. You may be wondering how it can be possible to be unaware of harm being done, but if it happens gradually it could take a while for you to notice it.
For example, if you are slowly being exposed to a toxic substance, and it takes several years for the effects of this toxic substance to show up, you would still be able to file suit against the guilty party no matter how much time has elapsed. Workers in the construction and manufacturing industries who were exposed to the tiny asbestos fibers had no idea that they could lodge in their lungs and later cause them to become terminally ill. While the statue of limitations is extended in cases like these, it still begins to tick once the harm has been discovered. If you have been diagnosed with an illness caused by long-term exposure or use, you must seek legal help as soon as you are made aware of the impact to your health.
If You Move Away
You can "freeze" that statute of limitations if you move out of the state where the injury occurred. If you ever return to that state, the clock will once against start to tick. It should be noted that if your injury occurred in a state in which you were not a legal resident, the ability to freeze the clock is not available. For example, if you were in a car wreck while on vacation in another state, you must abide by the rules in the state where the wreck occurred and follow the statute there.
Minors and Incapacitated
If the injured party is under the age of 18, the statute of limitations is extended until the party reaches the age of majority. The parents of the child under 18 can file suit on their behalf before that time, however, if they wish. When it comes to those who are mentally or physically incapacitated, there is no statute of limitations rules at all.
Contact a law office like Campbell, Dille, Barnett & Smith, P.L.L.C. for more information and assistance.