Statutes of Limitations

Posted on Friday, September 6th, 2013 at 9:14 pm    

A statute of limitations is an arbitrary time bar that prevent lawsuits from going forward after a certain length of the time has passed.  In many circumstances the statute of limitations is a two years from the date of the injury or event or two years from the date of a person’s death.  The Statute of Limitations can act as a complete bar to a lawsuit and a lawsuit’s merits will have no bearing on the application of the statute of limitations.   Put another way, a statute of limitations can be thought of as “speak now for forever hold your peace” on bringing a lawsuit.

Sometimes if a party engages is fraud in hiding the injury or the cause of the injury the Statute of Limitations could be extended beyond the applicable time frame.  In other instances another legal principle called the “discovery rule” may apply.  The discovery rule can be used to show that the plaintiffs did not learn of the true cause of the injury until a certain date.  The discovery rule can be applied in asbestos and pharmaceutical injury cases in some circumstances especially if the family was unaware of the cause of the disease until later or if the pharmaceutical company hid information about its injury-causing products.

In Texas, some of the statutes of limitations can be found here;

A chart of other states can be found here;

Anyone with questions about the application of the relevant statutes of limitations to their own circumstances needs to speak to an experienced attorney in their state, 0r the state of the potential action, to determine the proper statute of limitations and its application to their individual situation.


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