Sometimes people call us or schedule a consultation and tell us that the incident that caused their injury happened a number of years ago. Unfortunately, if too many years have passed since the injury happened, it may be difficult for us to help because the law sets limits on the time frame in which a person can bring a lawsuit. This limit is called the statute of limitations. Once the statute of limitations has ended, it is usually impossible to make a legal claim.*
Statutes of limitations are set by state law and differ depending on what kind of injury you suffered. For example –
- If you’re hurt in a car accident in Utah, you have four years from the date of the accident to bring the lawsuit. [Utah Code § 78B-2-307]
- If you’re hurt in a slip-and-fall accident in Utah, you also have four years from the date of the accident to bring the lawsuit. [Utah Code § 78B-2-307]
- In you’re making a claim of wrongful death in Utah, you have only two years from the date of death to bring a lawsuit. [Utah Code § 78B-2-304]
Other types of injuries are a little less straightforward –
- If you’re hurt by a defective product in Utah, you have two years “from the time the individual who would be the claimant in the action discovered, or in the exercise of due diligence should have discovered, both the harm and its cause.” [Utah Code § 78B-6-706]
- If you are injured by medical malpractice in Utah, you have two years to file a lawsuit from the time the injury was or should have been discovered, though the suit must also be filed within four years of the negligent act. [Utah Code § 78B-3-404]
If a child has been injured, the statute of limitation usually doesn’t start until that child turns 18 years old. So a child who was injured in a car accident would have until he was 22 years old to file an auto injury lawsuit.
Too many people are denied the opportunity to recover the damages they have a right to just because they wait too long. Don’t be one of them. If you think you may have a personal injury claim, talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. A lawsuit my not be the right choice for you, but it’s always best to understand your rights and your option. We can help.
*There may be exceptions to a statute of limitations. Always consult with an attorney about this issue.