For those injured because of another person's negligence, it can seem like your life may never return to normal. The stress and confusion of your situation could result in a feeling that you've waited too long to attempt to get compensation for your injuries, but don't be so sure of that. There are several exceptions to the statute of limitations, and knowing about these exceptions could mean the difference between no compensation and a fair settlement. Read on to learn more about these potentially valuable exceptions.
Statutes of Limitations
Every state has rules about the amount of time you have to file a personal injury case from the time of the accident. The statute of limitations varies from as little as a year in Kentucky, Louisiana, and Tennessee to as much as 6 years for the residents of Maine. The majority of states, some 24, allow you about two years to file a claim, but there are exceptions that could extend this deadline.
Discovery of Harm
It's difficult to file a claim against a wrongdoer when you aren't aware of the harm. This particular situation is what has prompted the rule of discovery, which gives more time for those harmed to file a claim, if they had no way of knowing that harm was being done. How could you not know that harm was being done? One good example of this rule is the harm done to victims of asbestos exposure. Often, these people breathed harmful, tiny particles of this toxic substance into their lungs day in and day out for years on end. As the lungs attempted to protect themselves from the tiny particles, scar tissue was formed around the particles, resulting in severe breathing disorders that may have only become apparent years later. Only when a victim discovers the harm, such as by a medical diagnosis, does the statute of limitations clock begin to tick.
Minors, Incapacity, and the Mentally Ill.
Those who suffer a harm through no fault of their own have until their 18th birthday for the statute of limitations clock to being ticking. For example, if an accident at birth caused an injury, that person could wait until their 18th birthday + the statute of limitations time in their state to file a claim. The physically and mentally incapacitated can have the statute of limitations temporarily frozen until they return to a fit state. The mentally ill have no statute of limitations imposed on them whatsoever.
Click here for info about exceptions to the statute of limitations, or contact a personal injury lawyer.