After an auto accident or other personal injury, you only have so long to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the person who caused your injuries. Find out how the Connecticut statute of limitations for personal injury claims works and whether you need to notify anyone sooner, so you don’t miss a deadline.
After any accident, your first priority should always be your health. However, once you have begun your recovery, your next call should be to a personal injury lawyer. The earlier you can involve an attorney, the better. A personal injury attorney can act as your representative with insurance providers, allowing you to focus on your recovery. Hiring a lawyer early also gives them plenty of time to investigate and file your personal injury claim before the Connecticut statute of limitations expires.
In general, a personal injury claim must be filed in court within two years after the injury occurs, or is first discovered. This is called the “statute of limitations” Even if your injury becomes apparent after the fact -- as is often the case with traumatic brain injuries or spinal damage -- you must file your personal injury lawsuit within three years of the negligent act or omission.
It will then be up to you and your personal injury attorney to explain why your injury couldn’t be discovered right away. If you file your personal injury lawsuit late -- even one day after the statute of limitations has expired -- the defendants can ask the court to dismiss your case and avoid paying for your injuries.
You don’t need to know all the details about the cause of your injury to get the case started. You and your personal injury lawyer later learn that someone else owned the building where you were hurt, or that a different insurance provider may offer coverage. If that happens, your lawyer can often file a new document, called an Amended Complaint, to add the missing parties and make sure your expenses are covered.
However, if you slip and fall in a government building, are hit by a city bus, or are injured by some other government actor, you will need to move much more quickly to protect your right to sue. Connecticut law says that you must provide written notice to the appropriate government agency within 90 days if your injury was caused by a defective highway or sidewalk, or 180 days if it was caused by a municipal employee. If you fail to submit your notice on time, the lawsuit you file later may be dismissed. That means you and your personal injury lawyer will have only weeks to investigate the cause of your injury and determine if the State or city government played a role.
There are two things a potential defendant can do to extend how long you can wait to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Leaving the state pauses the statute of limitations “clock” for up to five years (for a total of seven years after the injury). This is because you must personally serve each defendant with a copy of the complaint in order for your case to be heard. This exception prevents a defendant from avoiding liability simply by leaving for two years.
If a would-be defendant takes steps to hide their role, or the fact that the injured party is allowed to sue, that fraudulent concealment stops the statute of limitations “clock” until the victim discovers they are entitled to sue for personal injury. The defendant must have hidden the facts on purpose to avoid facing a personal injury lawsuit.
Insurance companies play a role in many personal injury lawsuits, especially auto accident cases. Most auto insurance companies require you to report any car accident you have within just a few days of the incident. Failure to disclose an injury accident could mean your insurance company will deny claims personal injury protection (PIP) benefits for your own injuries, or for liability coverage if you are determined to be at fault. This could leave you paying thousands of dollars in your own medical bills and personal injury damages to the other people hurt in the crash.
The Connecticut statute of limitations clock starts the moment you are hurt, even if it takes you weeks, or even months to recover. If you fail to file the necessary insurance claims, government notices, and legal complaints in time, you could be left without compensation for your injuries.
Don’t let the clock run out on your personal injury claim. At The Lebedevitch Law Firm, our personal injury attorneys can help you send out the necessary paperwork to the right parties, correctly, and on time, to protect your right to sue after a car crash or other personal injury. Contact The Lebedevitch Law Firm today to schedule your free consultation.