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Timing is Everything: Basics of Statute of Limitations


By: Janice Dantes


Lawsuits have time limits. This means, you cannot wait too long before you decide you want to take action in court. The reason for this is that with the passage of time, evidence can be discarded or destroyed and people’s memory fades which can make for unreliable witnesses. Knowing this is the case, please be sure to consult an attorney as soon as possible to advise you of your rights before it is too late. Below is important information to know about Statutes of Limitations:

1. Statutes of Limitations Vary. Different case types have different statutes of limitations. Some lawsuits against a city, municipality, or government agency may have a very short window of possibly a few months to file a grievance. Some contract disputes can have statutes of limitations as long as 10 years. However, you will have to check the jurisdiction where your incident arose to see if that is the law. Many personal injury and medical malpractice claims can only be brought within 2 years. There are exceptions if you did not discover the injury later. However, many attorneys and law firms are hesitant to begin a case of the statute of limitations is looming. For example, you may have a difficult time finding a lawyer for a malpractice suit even with the statute of limitations one year away.

2. Both criminal and civil cases have statutes of limitations. Criminal cases involve punishments of jail time or fines. Civil cases involve monetary compensation. Both cases involve statute of limitations. Recently, many statute of limitations were lifted for sexual abuse claims. There are no statue of limitations in murder cases. However, if you are a victim of a crime, please be sure to report the incident as soon as possible.

3. Malpractice claims for Statutes of Limitations. Courts are very strict about deadlines and lawyers are very careful about advising clients of statutes of limitations if they choose not to accept a case. Please do not be alarmed if a lawyer who does not accept your case sends you a letter regarding statutes of limitations.

If you have questions about statutes of limitations, please call (312) 546-5077 or janice@ pinaylaw.com. Thank you for reading. Until we meet again, love one another.

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