One of the challenges of litigating a personal injury case is that you have a limited time to file a lawsuit with the court. Once the time limit expires, you will be barred from suing the liable party for damages. As strange as it may sound, the statute of limitations for suing for property damage is different than the one for physical injuries. Here's more information about this issue to help you properly prepare your case.
The Time Limit May Be Longer or Shorter
The reason you should be concerned about the statute of limitations for property damage is because the deadline may arrive sooner than you expect. In Montana, for example, you have 3 years to launch a personal injury case but only 2 years to sue for property damage. If you were basing your case management on the assumption you had three years to file a lawsuit, you may inadvertently miss the deadline and unintentional end your case.
On the other hand, the time limit for suing for property damage is actually longer. So, even if you miss the deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit, you could technically still go after the defendant for payment for any property damage you sustained because of his or her actions. For instance, you may not be able to collect compensation for your medical bills after a car accident but you could sue for the cost of having your vehicle repaired.
Regardless of what type of case you have, it's important you research what the statute of limitations are in your state and adhere to them if you want to ensure you can collect what you're owed.
You May Be Able to Extend the Deadline
Even if it appears the statute of limitations has expired in your case, it may be possible to get around this issue. The court will let the case proceed if the defendant agrees to waive his or her right to use the statute of limitation defense. No one likes being sued, so the odds of this happening are slim.
The court may also waive the statute of limitation or recalculate when it actually expires if the defendant was out of state for any length of time after the property damage occurred. For instance, if the defendant hit your vehicle and then left town for two years, the court may exempt those two years the person was gone and start the clock when the individual returned to the state.
There may be other ways to overcome the statute of limitations problems. Contact a personal injury attorney, such as atLerner, Piermont & Riverol, P.A. , for assistance with your case.