Why You Should Never Wait to Speak with an Injury Lawyer After an Accident

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone’s lives and made it very difficult to continue life as we knew it before the virus spread. Our lawyers represent the victims of accidents in Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, and Florida. While the states have various degrees of Covid restrictions, most injured victims find it difficult to speak with an attorney and maintain social distance. We cannot more strongly advise against this approach. Not only do we offer free virtual consultations, but waiting too long can jeopardize your injury claim. In fact, even before the pandemic, during normal times, you should never wait to talk with a lawyer about your injury case. We recommend all victims of injuries talk with a lawyer as soon as possible after the injury is sustained. There’s a number of reasons why this is the case. One of the most important reasons is the statute of limitations in personal injury cases.

Statute of Limitations

All states establish how long a plaintiff has to file a civil lawsuit. Referred to as the statute of limitations, these time limits vary by type of claim. In all states, there are time limits for the filing of both civil and criminal cases. These limits are referred to as the statute of limitations. The rationale for these limitations is to insure that the aggrieved party (plaintiff) can’t continue to threaten the filing of a lawsuit against the potential defendant indefinitely. These limits also protect the integrity of eyewitness testimony and evidence. In addition, this finality fosters resolution of cases. As such, it is very important to confirm this time limit in your case as soon as possible. If not, if your case is filed after the statute of limitations has passed, it will most likely be dismissed by the court. There are, however, exceptions if there is fraud involved on the part of the defendant.

Even though the statute of limitations may not have expired yet, you do not want to wait until you even get close. If you get too close to the statute of limitation, it won’t give your injury lawyer enough time to investigate your claim, acquire all of your medical records, and fairly negotiate prior to litigation. It puts an injury lawyer in a bind when they only have a certain amount of time left with respect to the statute of limitation and in some cases it may even result in that injury lawyer not accepting the case. So even though the pandemic conditions make it difficult, you should call an attorney immediately if you’ve been injured in an accident.

The statute of limitations usually ranges from 1 to 10 years depending on state law. These limits preclude an aggrieved party from indefinitely threatening to file a lawsuit against the defendant beyond the timeframe set forth. It creates finality and more often than not, fosters a resolution of the claim short of litigation. If the injury claim is not filed in a timely fashion, the claim will usually be dismissed by the court fairly early.

Michigan Injury Claims

In Michigan, The following are the statute of limitations for various claims:

Injury to Person – 3 years
Libel/Slander – 1 year
Fraud – 6 years
Injury to Personal Property – 3 years
Professional Malpractice – 2 years
Trespass – 6 years
Collection of Rents – 6 years
Collection of Debt on Account – 6 years
Judgments – 10 years ct. of record; 6 yrs ct. not of record

As to medical malpractice, the plaintiff must start the process by serving a notice of intent to file a claim on all medical professionals and institutions that they want to sue. Michigan requires a mandatory 182-day waiting period after that notice is filed. After that a formal complaint may be filed with an attached affidavit of merit from a qualified expert in the appropriate court. In general, the medical malpractice statute of limitations is two years from the date of the negligent act or omission or six months from the date the plaintiff discovers or should have discovered the claim with a six year statute of repose. There may be exceptions depending on the facts. Medical malpractice claims in Michigan are complex and you should speak with a Michigan injury lawyer today about your case without delay.

Ohio Injury Claims

In Ohio, the following statute of limitations are as follows:

Injury to person- 2 years
Libel/Slander- 1 year
Fraud- 4 years
Personal Property- 2 years
Trespass- 4 years
Contracts- Written 8 years; Oral 6 years
Debt Collection- 6 years
Judgments- 21 years

As to medical malpractice, the statute of limitations is 1 year from the date of the incident, the date of the termination of the patient/doctor relationship, or the discovery date whichever occurs the latest in time. This date can be extended by 180 days after a certified notice of the potential medical malpractice case is received by all potential defendants. These cases are limited by a 4 year statute of repose.

Florida Injury Claims

Injury to Person – 4 Years
Libel/Slander – 2 years
Fraud – 4 years
Personal Property – 4 years
Professional Malpractice – 2 years
Trespass – 4 years
Contracts – Written 5 years; Specific Performance 1 year; Oral 4 years
Judgments – 20 years domestic; Foreign Judgment 5 years

Medical Malpractice – In general, Florida has a 2 year statute of limitations for the filing of a medical malpractice claim. It does not begin to run until the discovery of the incident. The statute repose is 4 years. If the medical malpractice involves fraud or concealment, the statute of limitations is 7 years.

Georgia Statute of Limitations

Injury to Person – 2 years
Libel/Slander – 1 yr
Trespass – 4 years
Contracts – Written 6 years; Oral 4 years
Debt Collection – 4 years
Judgment – 5 years, foreign judgment
Personal Property – 4 years
Fraud – 2 years

Medical Malpractice – In general, Georgia requires that a plaintiff bring a medical malpractice case within 2 years. The clock does not start running until there is a manifestation of an injury. As to a foreign object, the statute is 1 year. That clock starts running when the foreign object is discovered. There is a 5 year statute of repose.

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About the Authors: Sawan & Sawan is a Toledo, Ohio based law firm representing clients in the areas of Personal InjuryTruck Accidents, and Car Accidents with lawyers licensed to practice in Ohio, Michigan and Georgia.

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Dennis P. Sawan

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Chris Sawan


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