DC Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is a legal term used to describe the DC Code Section that sets a time limit in which a lawsuit may be initiated to recover funds or other compensation for personal injuries. If the individual does not do so within this time frame, their claim is time barred.
Anyone who has been injured due to the negligence of someone else should contact a DC personal injury attorney so that the attorney can investigate the claim, and advise that person as to any statute of limitations and work towards a favorable recovery on behalf of the injured person.
Calculating the Statute of Limitations
The DC statute of limitations is calculated either from the date on which the negligent act occurred or, in some cases, from the date the harm is discovered. For example, if a person is injured in a motor vehicle accident, the person will then have three years from the date of the motor vehicle accident to initiate a lawsuit. Generally speaking, there is a three year statute of limitation for personal injury cases in DC. This means that a personal injury case must either be filed or completely resolved within three years of the date of the occurrence or, in some cases, the date in which the harm is discovered. For those who have been injured while under the age of 18, the statue of limitations is calculated a little differently.
The Discovery of Harm Rule
The discovery of harm rule is an exception to the standard three-year statute of limitations. This exception typically is seen in medical malpractice cases, in which a person undergoes a medical procedure that was done improperly. However, the injured person may not discover the malpractice until sometime later.
The discovery of harm rule allows a person to initiate a claim within three years from the date the harm is discovered. In the medical malpractice example, someone is unaware that malpractice has occurred but discovers the harm at a later time, so the injured person has three years from the date the harm is discovered to initiate a lawsuit or resolve the claim through settlement.
Claims Adjusters and the Statute of Limitations
A helpful way to ensure that a claim adjuster does not ruin an opportunity to collect in a personal injury case is to retain a personal injury attorney. Claim adjusters do not have the interest of the injured person at heart when they are performing their job. They have no obligation to pay an injured person for any injuries that occurred more than three years prior. This means that a person may be engaged in conversations with a claim adjuster and an offer may even be made, but not accepted by a claim adjuster because the DC statute of limitation has passed. Once the three-year anniversary of the incident occurs, then a claims adjuster will likely discontinue any communication with the injured person and simply close his or her claim file. At this point, the claims adjuster knows that any claim initiated after the three-year statute of limitations will be time barred.
For questions about how your residency or citizenship may influence the statute of limitations for your claim, click here.