Taking legal action as early as you can is a wise move. By doing so, you avoid the risk of exceeding the personal injury statute of limitations and similar legal time limits. You can avoid missing out on compensation by acting early.
Still, not everyone knows why taking legal action as early as possible is important. Others may know about that, but they may be unaware of what the statute relevant to their case dictates.
In this article, we talk at length about the personal injury statute of limitations for the state of Connecticut. We’ll discuss the relevant laws and other important details that should influence how you go about your case. Stick around to get a good idea of how Connecticut’s statute of limitations could affect you.
Connecticut’s Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
Let’s get to the main topic right away. In the state of Connecticut, plaintiffs must act to recover damages from a defendant within two years of when the relevant incident occurred.
Upon learning that the statute of limitations is two years, you may think you have plenty of time. However, two years can be short, especially if you sustained some serious injuries from the accident.
You may be confined to a hospital bed for the first few months following the accident so you can recover from your injuries. Several months may have passed by the time you can leave the hospital. You may have no choice but to rush to send your legal filings in on time.
Statutes of limitations are supposed to keep legal actions timely. They encourage plaintiffs to act sooner rather than later. Partner with an experienced lawyer so you can start working on your lawsuit as soon as possible.
Can They Extend the Statute of Limitations?
The personal injury statute of limitations for Connecticut is two years. You must abide by the time limit if you want the courts to accept your legal filings.
That said, there are some scenarios where a plaintiff may have more time to act. Let’s discuss those scenarios in greater detail below.
You Discovered Your Injury Later On
While two years is generally the hard time limit for personal injury cases, you may get some more time depending on the nature of your injury.
For instance, the doctor may not have detected your injury the first time they examined you because it was not presenting symptoms yet. That could be the case with certain brain injuries. In that specific situation, the timer for filing will only start on the day you first learned about your injury.
There is still an important caveat to remember for those who learned about their injuries later. Although the timer does start later, that does not necessarily mean that you will get two full years to act.
The state of Connecticut has set three years as the absolute time limit for personal injury lawsuits. You cannot go past that time limit.
If you learned about your injury eighteen months after the accident, that does not mean that you have two more years to get your filings in order; it means that you have eighteen months to sue the person who caused your injury.
The Defendant Left the State
You cannot control how things will play out in your case. Even if you are determined to hold the defendant accountable for what happened, pulling that off is not always easy.
The defendant may not wait around for you to sue them. They could flee the state to try and avoid prosecution.
With the defendant out of the state, pursuing legal action against them may not be an option. Your best option will be to wait for them to return.
In cases where the defendant leaves the state, the timer for the statute of limitations essentially pauses. It will only start back up when the defendant returns. You should also let the court know that the defendant has left the state so they can stop the clock from running out.
By the way, there is still a hard time limit on personal injury cases, even if the person you are planning to sue is out of the state. You need to file the lawsuit within seven years if you want a shot at receiving compensation.
The Defendant Is Concealing Their Liability
They could also extend the statute of limitations if the defendant concealed or withheld evidence pertinent to the personal injury case.
The other party may have hidden crucial pieces of evidence that point to them being negligent. Because they held on to those pieces of evidence instead of disclosing them, you could not understand the true nature of their involvement in the incident.
You may only find out about what truly happened several months after the incident.
In all likelihood, the court will grant you an exception if the defendant was willfully concealing or withholding relevant pieces of evidence. The timer for your case may only start on the day that you finally learn the truth about the incident.
Do not delay things any further upon learning the truth. Sue the person responsible for causing your injuries and make sure they compensate you properly.
Does the State of Connecticut Grant Statute of Limitations Exceptions to Minors and Mentally Unfit Individuals?
Since we are talking about scenarios where they can extend the statute of limitations, you are probably expecting to see something about minors and mentally unfit individuals. In many states throughout the country, these individuals receive exceptions. They have more time to file lawsuits.
The state of Connecticut is different because it grants no such exceptions. The time limit for filing remains the same no matter a person’s age or mental condition.
What Happens if You Cannot File before the Statute of Limitations Expires?
Acting quickly if you intend to sue someone is a must. By waiting too long, you accept the possibility that you will not receive compensation for your injuries.
So, what will specifically happen if you fail to file on time? We have laid out the potential ramifications of the clock running out in the following section.
The Defendant Will File a Motion to Dismiss Your Lawsuit
Upon learning that you sent your lawsuit filings after the period prescribed by the statute of limitations, the defendant will likely take their own course of legal action. To be more specific, they will likely file a motion to get your lawsuit dismissed.
More often than not, the court will grant that motion filed by the defendant because they are bound by the law to do so. Even if your lawsuit has merit, the court will likely grant the motion to dismiss it because you were too late.
As we have already discussed, exceptions may be granted in some cases, but you do not want to count on that. It is better to file early so your lawsuit does not end up getting thrown out.
Negotiations with the Other Side Will End
The courts do not decide all personal injury cases. There are also times when the two sides will negotiate and come to a settlement instead.
If you were hoping to salvage a settlement out of your case, that may not happen anymore if you were late with your filings. The defendant may delay their actions and essentially run the clock out on you. There will be no need to settle if they know that they will dismiss your filing anyway.
What Cases Are Covered by Connecticut’s Personal Injury Statute of Limitations?
Now that we know more about how Connecticut’s statute of limitations affects personal injury cases, let’s examine specific instances when they become relevant. Be mindful of the following cases and remember that you must act quickly if you are involved.
Connecticut’s statute of limitations is a factor you must consider if you find yourself involved in a vehicular accident. It will matter in car, motorcycle, and truck accident cases.
Another party’s negligence could have been the primary cause of the car accident. Negligence in that situation could come in the form of texting while driving, running the red light, or any one of numerous traffic violations.
Make sure you work closely with your lawyer to pursue legal action against the negligent driver, do not let them get away with their irresponsible actions.
The two-year statute of limitations also applies to medical malpractice cases.
Medical malpractice could come in the form of a mistake your doctor made while diagnosing or treating you. They can also be negligent if they fail to do something important throughout your treatment.
The effects of medical malpractice may not become evident immediately after the mishap. The issue may only emerge later. Prepare to act immediately because you may not get a full two years to file your lawsuit.
Premises liability cases also double as personal injury cases.
For those unfamiliar with the term, premises liability refers to a property owner’s responsibility to keep their property safe for their guests and/or customers. The principle of premises liability dictates that you should make a reasonable effort to keep your property safe if you are having people over.
Slip and fall accidents are examples of premises liability cases. The plaintiff may claim that the property owner failed to mark a wet spot properly. Upon walking over that spot, the plaintiff slipped and injured a part of their body.
The plaintiff can say that the property owner was negligent because they did not take good enough care of their establishment. The property owner could be open to a lawsuit in that situation. A plaintiff has two years to submit their legal filings in a premises liability case.
Compared to the last few examples, product liability cases are more complicated from the statute of limitations.
The timer for product liability cases typically starts on the day that the defective item injures you. You should examine your injury and check if it has any connections to a defective product.
Of course, it is also possible for you to only learn about a particular injury caused by a product several years after the fact. If more than ten years have passed since the last time you owned that defective product, pursuing any legal action against the manufacturer will no longer be an option for you.
Unfortunately, some negligent actions are damaging enough to lead to wrongful death. In a wrongful death case, the clock for the statute of limitations does not start on the day that the affected individual was injured. Instead, the clock starts ticking on the day they die.
Having the timer reset like that is helpful because it allows you to change the details of your lawsuit. You can work with your lawyer to present a stronger case in court.
According to Cornell Law School, the deceased individual’s spouse or children are typically the ones eligible to receive compensation from a wrongful death lawsuit. The deceased person’s parents and siblings may also be eligible to receive the money.
In the state of Connecticut, only the person designated as the executor of the deceased person’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit. That matter needs to get sorted out quickly, so there is ample time to move forward with the legal proceedings.
At first, two years may seem like plenty of time to file a lawsuit. You may not think that hiring a lawyer is something you need to do right away.
However, that time can go by quickly. Before you know it, you are already months away from the deadline, and you still do not have anything ready to file.
Do not wait too long to hire a lawyer because you could put yourself in a tough spot by doing that. Work with us at Hassett & George, P.C. to ensure that you can file on time. Contact us today to learn more about the legal assistance we provide.