When you get hurt in an accident that’s not your fault, you deserve to be compensated for the harm you suffer. This compensation can take a number of forms, covering medical bills, lost wages, even damage to the quality of life you’ve suffered, and in some cases punitive damages. However, there are a lot of pitfalls you need to avoid. Among the most critical revolve around the timeframe in which you file your lawsuit.
This timeframe is known as the statute of limitations, and every state has its own laws and regulations revolving around the time limits to file a claim. Learn about how long you have to file a Massachusetts personal injury lawsuit, what a statute of limitations is, how it works, and how a personal injury lawyer can help you get compensation.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations is a timeframe in which you have to file a lawsuit. If you try to file past the statute of limitations, in general your lawsuit will be dismissed. There are certain exceptions to the rule, but these are few and far between. Usually, the statute of limitations begins when you suffer image or the damage occurs—that is, the date of the accident. From there, you must commence an action by filing a complaint or mailing it to the court clerk in the proper district.
Such a complaint also generally requires a fee. There are also a few other important requirements to ensure your lawsuit is properly reviewed, and a number of pitfalls you need to avoid.
Massachusetts Statute of Limitations
For the majority of personal injury cases in Massachusetts, the statute of limitations is three years. This means you have three years from the date of the accident to begin your lawsuit. Again, however, there are exceptions to the rule.
If, for example, you are taking action against a sheriff that alleges misconduct or negligence of his office or a deputy, you have four years to file a suit. If you take actions against the MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) for injuries you sustain as a passenger on public transit, on the other hand, you have only two years to file a suit. This latter is based on a court case (Thomas v. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority).
Yet another exception involves hit and run accidents. In these cases, the statute of limitations for bringing a suit related to property damage, personal injury or death must be brought within six months after you learn the defendant’s identity, and within three years of the accident, provided that the police and registrar of motor vehicles have proper notice of the facts of the accident, including time and place.
Statute of Limitations and Wrongful Death Cases
Wrongful death cases have their own unique identity and qualities, including in the way statute of limitations is handled. In a wrongful death suit, you have three years following the date of death as with other types of personal injury case, but actions against ski area operators establish only a one-year statute of limitations.
How Do I Know My Statute of Limitations?
As you can see, there are a number of specific cases where the statute of limitations has been shortened. It’s important to know how long you have to file. In any case, the sooner you file your injury case, the better off you are. Beginning your complaint right away is usually the best way to ensure that your case will be heard.
Even if you don’t feel that badly hurt right away, it doesn’t hurt to start the process. Many injuries can take months or even years to show up, and you don’t want to be stuck with debilitating injuries and mounting medical bills with no options to recover your losses. Starting the process immediately will ensure that you’re ready to move the case forward should it become necessary. Of course, that also requires having just the right help to avoid critical mistakes.
Working with a Personal Injury Lawyer
The right personal injury lawyer can help your Massachusetts injury or wrongful death suit. Whether it’s a car accident, slip and fall, premises liability, product liability or any other kind of accident, Jim Glaser Law is ready to help. We have many years of experience and extensive knowledge in all areas of injury law.
If you’ve been hurt in Massachusetts and you need representation from an experienced personal injury lawyer in your case, don’t wait. Contact us for a free consultation and to start the process today!