Will the Statute of Limitations Affect my Accident Claim?
The Statute of Limitations is a state law that sets limits on the amount of time you have to bring a lawsuit to court. This legal rule varies by state and by cause of action.
For example, in Kentucky and Tennessee the restriction for taking legal action in an accident is one year, while in Maine and North Dakota it’s six years, and in Oregon it’s ten years.
For residents of Arkansas, you have three years from the date of the collision to file a lawsuit for negligence that causes a motor vehicle accident that causes injury or death. The statute of limitations will not affect your accident claim if you bring it to court before the three-year limit expires.
When Does the Clock Start?
Determining when the limit starts is not always simple. Different periods of limitation apply to intentional claims, malpractice claims, and workers compensation claims. The best rule is to count the period of limitations from the earliest possible date, which would be the date of the motor vehicle collision. In a motor vehicle accident where there was an injury or property damage, the date of the accident is the start of the three years for a negligence claim.
More importantly, it is important to remember that it takes time to work up a claim. Do not wait. Contact a lawyer as soon as possible … so the lawyer can gather the facts while the evidence is still fresh and find the witnesses while they can still be found and can still have fresh recall. A lawyer often does not want to get involved in a claim that is within months of the limitations date, or so old that it will be difficult to gather the facts and needed testimony. The lawyer needs time to work the claim through the pre-lawsuit negotiation process. Since there are deadlines that apply, the best time to act on getting a lawyer to pursue your personal injury claim is NOW.
What Happens if a Claim is Not Filed Within the Time Limit?
For various reasons, some injured parties may not file their claim immediately – perhaps because they did not realize the extent of the injuries or damage. If you do not file your claim within the time limit, your legal claim is totally barred and your right to sue is lost forever.
Because it’s not worth it to lose this right altogether, leave yourself plenty of time to file a car or truck accident lawsuit. If you’re concerned your three-year limit might be approaching, talk to a Fayetteville truck accident lawyer about your options.