Understanding the Statute of Limitations

for Car Accidents

10/15/2021 By Farkas & Crowley, PA

Car accidents seem to have a way of resulting in high costs for everyone. If you were in a car accident, you likely have car repair costs, medical bills, wages to make up and several other expenses that you didn’t previously have. After a car accident, many victims will gain compensation to cover those costs through a car accident lawsuit. You only have a certain amount of time to get that lawsuit filed, so it’s important you understand a few things.

The Statute of Limitations Varies by State

Each state has a statute of limitations for lawsuits. It varies by state and by the type of lawsuit you’re filing. For car accidents, it typically runs around two years depending on what you’re claiming, but there are some dramatic outliers in states such as Kentucky that has a one-year statute of limitations and Maine that has a six-year statute.

It’s important that you realize what the statute of limitations is in your state so you are able to get your lawsuit started. If you miss the deadline, you could also miss your chance at compensation. For example, if you live in Alabama with a two year statute of limitations, you wouldn’t want to confuse that with your southern neighbors in Florida who have a four year statute of limitations, or you could forfeit your right to compensation by missing the deadline.

In some states there is also a different statute for personal injury than there is for property damage, so you’ll need to figure that out as well. For example, Illinois has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury relating to car accidents, but for property damage, there is a five-year statute. Kentucky has a similar setup with the one-year statute being for personal injury claims only. Those seeking a property damage claim after a car accident would have two years.

You Might Qualify for an Exception

Many states offer a handful of exceptions for the statute of limitations. While these could also vary by state, the following are some typical reasons someone could be given an exception:

• Discovering injuries at a later date
• Being a minor at the time of the accident
• Being incompetent at the time of the accident

You Should Get a Lawyer Involved

Many car accidents result in a serious need for compensation, as the lawyers at Cohen & Cohen can explain. If you have been injured in an accident, it’s essential that you get a lawyer involved as soon as possible so you can get your case started before the statute of limitations expires. Contact a car accident lawyer today.