What Is The Time Limit For My Personal Injury Case?

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What Is The Time Limit For My Personal Injury Case?

The law establishes time limits for when a case must be resolved or brought to court.   The time limits vary depending on the type of case.   If you have a personal injury case (such as a car accident case) and you do not finalize a settlement or file all the appropriate legal documents in the correct court house within the prescribed time limit, you will very likely lose all your rights to seek compensation and your day in court.   It is very important that when you think you have a case, you should contact an attorney with the appropriate experience and have him or her explain to you the time limits that are involved with your case.   I will attempt to discuss some time limits that are involved with personal injury and wrongful death cases due to negligence.  This list is not entirely complete and does not address time limits for workers’ compensation injury cases, and disability cases.

If a car accident occurs in Oregon, in order to maintain a claim for injury compensation, you must settle your case or have filed the appropriate documentation with the appropriate court of jurisdiction within  two years of the date of the accident.  This time limit applies to adults.   There is a medical benefit that most people are entitled to in a car accident that usually allows for medical expenses for up to one year.  In fact, in most negligence injury cases, (also known as personal injury cases, tort cases, etc.) the time limit in which you have to settle or file a lawsuit is two years in the state of Oregon.   This includes medical malpractice, dental malpractice and most legal malpractice claims, (lawsuits based on the failure to perform a duty in a contract can often be 6 years).

If you are injured as a result of the negligence of your landlord, you can likely pursue two types of claims: one for a simple negligence claim, (two year time limit), and one for violation of the landlord tenant laws.  The landlord tenant claim has a one year time limit.  These would be cases like falling through a rotting back porch deck, or a tree limb falls in the complex and hits you, or black mold in your home.

If your injury involved a government entity, like you were rear ended by a van operated by the local military recruiting office, then you have a different set of time limits.  Another such example would be the bathroom door at the post office came off its hinges and fell on your two year old child.  This would involve the federal government.  Injuries can occur at state and city offices, or by state and city employees driving government owned vehicles.   Emily Shack recently won a trial in Eugene against the City when a police officer rear-ended our client causing several injuries.

The first, and often most time sensitive thing you must know is that you are required to give legally proper notice of a potential claim to the appropriate government entity within 180 days of the injury.  Then you have the two year time limit which starts with the date of accident imposed in addition to this notice requirement.

I had a case where a lumbar company hired a helicopter pilot to spray insecticides over their lands.   My client was hunting on these lands and was doused with very powerful and harmful chemicals.  He suffered severe neurological damages as a result.   Fortunately, I did my homework and discovered what few attorneys know, and that is, there is a specific legal statute setting a one year time limit in these particular cases.  I would have never thought there was a specific statute governing when someone might get negligently sprayed by insecticides by a helicopter or plane.   This is yet another reason why obtaining an attorney who is experienced is essential.  Had my hunter client gone to see another attorney who wasn’t as experienced in these types of injury cases, he would likely have been told that the time limit was two years.   Then, if a year and a half goes by before a claim is presented against the lumber company, the claim would be dismissed without compensation.  Incidentally, the hunter would then have a claim against the attorney for missing the time limit.  The time limit in which to pursue the lawyer would be two years from the date of the malpractice, (probably two years from the one year from the accident in that case).

If you have a case against an establishment that served alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person and that person then gets into a car and injures you, you have to send a legally sufficient letter to the establishment within 180 days of the date of injury.   Then, the two
year time limit applies, again staring with the date of the car accident.

For wrongful death claims, the statute of limitations is 3 years.   But, understand that their may be some exceptions to this rule, and that you must consult an attorney to make sure you understand the time limit for your particular case.

For injuries to a minor, it gets a little complicated.   Minors from 0 to 12, have seven years in which to file their claim, (except when involving government entities–then still only two years).  For children over 12, the statute of limitations will likely go until their 19th birthday.  For those over the age of 17 when injured, they will have two years.  Again, there are exceptions to these rules. You must consult with a lawyer for your particular case.   A wrongful death case for a minor is still three years regardless of age at death.

I have a book in my office that addresses time limits for cases in Oregon.  The book is over 300 pages long.   Understand that the above explanation of time limits is very limited.  There are time limits in which appeals must be made, time limits for filing legal documents once a lawsuit begins, and time limits for certain other types of cases.   If you have a case, please call us for a free consultation concerning the time limits that apply to your case.

The above information is NOT a substitute for legal advice and should not be interpreted as the dissemination of legal advice. It is only meant as general guidance on various issues which may be applicable to your situation. It is critical that youconsult with an experienced attorney before taking any legal action or have specific questions addressing your particular case answered.

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