The amount of time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit is determined by state law, which can differ from state-to-state. Personal injury claims stem from injuries sustained in a car accident, a workplace accident or a slip and fall at a commercial business, for example. While you will have a specific timeframe in which you can file a claim, it's important that you begin the process as soon as you can after suffering injury in an accident because waiting too long to file could potentially result in you missing the opportunity to seek compensation.
This time limit is referred to as a statute of limitations. Depending on the type of claim, the state where the claim is filed, and whether the claim is filed in a state or federal court, different deadlines apply. This only differs when the plaintiff is suing the federal or state government for damages. For instance, there may be different rules for claims if your injury was caused by a Connecticut government employee or agency.
In the following article, we will highlight these deadlines and the circumstances in which these deadlines carry exceptions or different rules.
Before doing anything, we advise you to speak with a Connecticut personal injury attorney who has experience in handling claims specific to your situation. At Brandon J. Broderick, we have managed and won personal injury cases of all types for decades. If you have been injured and have questions, feel free to reach out to us for a no-obligation case evaluation.
Connecticut's Statute Of Limitations
General Statutes of Connecticut section 52-584 states that: "No action to recover damages for injury to the person... caused by negligence, or by reckless or wanton misconduct... shall be brought but within two years from the date when the injury is first sustained." This section's statute of limitations will typically apply to the majority of Connecticut personal injury lawsuits.
Therefore, there is a two-year time limit in which an injured party must file a personal injury claim in Connecticut's civil court system, if the injury was brought on by someone else. That holds true regardless of whether of the liability principle of "negligence".
This time limit begins when an injury takes place or when the injured party first discovers the injury. However, if the injury is discovered after the accident, which is said to have been the cause, the injured party will carry the responsibility of proving that the injury wasn't apparent immediately after the incident but is still related.
Deadlines If a State or Government Is At Fault For Your Injuries
You will need to act much faster to protect your right to sue if you are hurt and hold a government or Connecticut state entity responsible. Maybe you are hit by a city bus, slip and fall in a government building, or are hurt by a government employee. According to Connecticut law, you must give written notice to the relevant government body within 90 days if your injury was brought on by a dangerous road or sidewalk; and 180 days if it was brought on by a municipal employee.
The case you subsequently file could be dismissed if you don't file a notice within this time restrictions. With only a few weeks to file, you and your personal injury attorney must act quickly and investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident to see if the State or local government was at fault.
Statute Of Limitations Exceptions
A defendant can delay your ability to file a personal injury claim for two different reasons, which includes:
Absence from Connecticut
The "clock" of the statute of limitations is stopped for up to five years if a defendant leaves the state of Connecticut (up to a total of seven years after the injury). This is due to the fact that in order for your case to be heard, you must physically serve a copy of the complaint to each defendant. Due to this provision, a defendant cannot escape responsibility by merely relocating for two years.
Fraudulent Concealment of Liability by Defendant
The "clock" on the statute of limitations is stopped until the injured party learns they have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit if a potential defendant takes steps to conceal their involvement or the fact that they have that right. To prevent being named in a personal injury lawsuit, the defendant must have knowingly concealed the facts.
What Happens If I Miss The Deadline to File?
The defendant in your personal injury case will almost likely mention this in a request to dismiss your case if the two-year filing period has past and you still attempt to file your claim in court. Unless a rare exception gives you the right to more time (such as the exceptions mentioned in the section above), the court will dismiss your case.
The Connecticut personal injury statute of limitations is essential if you intend to file a formal lawsuit to pursue your claim, but it is also important if you are negotiating a settlement with the at-fault party and his or her insurance company. When the deadline for filing your complaint has passed and the other party is aware of it, you will no longer have any negotiating power. Two years might pass quickly, so it's important to be aware of this.
An experienced personal injury attorney can give you further insight into your claim and if you have options after missing the two-year filing deadline.
The Law Office of Brandon J. Broderick Is Here To Support You
Have you been hurt in an accident as a result of someone else's carelessness? Do you have questions about the filing deadlines? The most important thing is that you address your concerns as soon as possible and ask questions before it's too late.
Contact us as soon as you can to schedule a free consultation. We can achieve the justice you deserve.