Understanding The Statute Of Limitations – Can You Still Sue For An Old Injury?

The statute of limitations is a critical concept that everyone should know. It prevents prosecution of a crime after a certain period has passed because memories fade and essential evidence can be lost.

However, exceptions to the statute of limitations allow you to move forward with a claim even after the time limit has expired. This article will explore these exceptions.

What is a Statute of Limitations?

A statute of limitations is a law that prevents prosecutors from charging someone with a crime after a certain period has passed. Each state has its statute of limitations, with different time limits depending on the type of crime and circumstances of the case.

In civil cases, a statute of limitations specifies how long a person has to file a lawsuit after an incident occurs. Once this period has passed, a claim or lawsuit cannot be filed.


Statutes of limitations are essential for several reasons. They help protect a defendant from unfair prejudice and ensure that substantial evidence does not deteriorate or disappear over time. Additionally, it ensures that witnesses and victims have enough time to pursue their claims before the statute of limitations runs out. However, some critics of the statute of limitations argue that it prevents people from seeking justice when harmed. This can lead to the abuse of vulnerable people by organizations, police, and lawyers who choose to look the other way.

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

In general, statute limitations restrict the time a legal action can be brought. However, several exceptions to this rule may allow you to get a claim after the deadline. 

For example, suppose you are mentally incompetent at the time of an injury or were legally a minor. In that case, the clock on your statute of limitations will pause until you reach the age of legal maturity. A claim for wrongful death also gets an extension if the victim died due to negligence.

There are other exclusions for claims of medical malpractice and some categories of product liability, like silica and asbestos. It might be possible to sue in cases of apparent negligence or harm caused by another party’s actions. Consult a lawyer if there is an exception in your case. They can examine your case and describe any potential statute of limitations exceptions. Investigating this possibility is worthwhile. After all, your health and your financial stability depend on it.

How Can You File a Claim for an Old Injury?

The statute of limitations may seem restrictive when filing a claim for a past injury. However, a personal injury attorney can help you identify exceptions that may apply to your case and allow you to move forward with a claim before time runs out.

For example, a person still recovering from a severe injury might not be ready to file a lawsuit until they reach the point of maximum medical improvement, which can sometimes take years after the initial injury. The statute of limitations typically starts running at that point.

Additionally, if a person discovers their injuries considerably later than anticipated, certain jurisdictions have a discovery provision that allows them to extend the statute of limitations. This often applies to workers who suffer from health issues such as cancer from toxic exposure on the job. Some rules also allow victims to have their claims tolled if the at-fault party leaves the state before they can file a claim.

When Can You Sue for an Old Injury?

It can be challenging to gather the evidence and documentation needed to file a claim, especially for an injury that happened long ago. Substantial evidence may be lost or unreliable, and witnesses’ memories can fade as time passes. This is one of the main reasons why statutes of limitations existβ€”to help ensure that cases have fresh, relevant information to review and consider when deciding a topic.

While a case’s statute of limitations clock usually starts when an accident occurs, there are instances where the law allows the watch to be paused. These are called tolling factors, including things such as a defendant leaving the state or a minor being unable to file on their behalf. To find out more about how a statute of limitations may impact your case, speak with an expert personal injury attorney. They can answer your questions and explain the exceptions that might apply to your situation.


We are not lawyers and this is in no way intended to be used as legal advice . We cannot be held responsible for your results. Always do your own research and seek professional legal help.


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