How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
If you’ve suffered an injury in a car accident or in any accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be spending your time worrying about your physical pain and the recovery process. But when the bills begin mounting and you still aren’t able to return to work, you may begin to consider filing a personal injury claim. In some instances, you may not realize the lasting impacts and negative physical effects of an injury until long after the accident. But how late is too late to file a lawsuit? How Long do you have to file a personal injury lawsuit in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma’s Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Lawsuits
It’s essential to understand Oklahoma’s statute of limitations when it comes to filing personal injury lawsuits after an accident. A statute of limitation is a strict time limit that each state applies to injury claims. The time limit begins from the day the accident or incident occurs. These limits are set by legislatures in each state.
In Oklahoma, accident victims have 2 years from the date of their accident to file a personal injury lawsuit against an at-fault party. The time limit is meant to protect people against lawsuits filed years after an incident when evidence may no longer be easily available and memory isn’t reliable. It also protects defendants against the ongoing, indefinite threat of a lawsuit.
Are There Exceptions to the 2-Year Statute of Limitations?
Oklahoma’s 2-year time limit applies to the vast majority of personal injury cases, including car accidents, slip and fall accidents, medical malpractice, product liability, and wrongful death cases. However, like all rules, there are exceptions to the 2-year limit. Some common exceptions include:
- When a victim discovers an injury long after the initial accident the statute of limitations begins on the day of the injury diagnosis
- When an accident victim dies of a personal injury months after the accident, the statute of limitations begins on the date of death
- When a state employee causes an injury, the statute of limitations is only one year from the incident date
- When a minor under age 12 sustains a personal injury their parents have up to 7 years to file a lawsuit
- A minor between the ages of 12 and 17 has up until a year past their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit
- For mentally incompetent or impaired victims, the statute of limitations may be placed on hold until they are competent or for up to 7 years after the accident date
- In rare instances when a defendant hides or evades a lawsuit the state may extend the statute of limitations
Except in the above circumstances, any lawsuit filed after the 2-year statute of limitations is likely to face instant dismissal. Insurance companies know a lawsuit won’t hold up in court if filed past the statute of limitations so they won’t offer a settlement.
If you have questions about how Oklahoma’s statute of limitations applies to your own case, a qualified injury attorney in Oklahoma City can address your concerns.