How Long Do You Have to File a Lawsuit After a Car Accident in Massachusetts?
If you were injured in a car accident, you might be able to claim damages in a lawsuit against the responsible driver. A personal injury lawsuit for a car accident in Massachusetts will often revolve around proving the other driver’s negligence. These kinds of cases do not always start right after the accident happens and many plaintiffs decide to wait. However, it is important to understand that a statute of limitations may bar you from filing your lawsuit if you wait too long.
Statutes of limitations are like rules that impose time limits on filing lawsuits. Different kinds of cases may have different statutes of limitations. In Massachusetts, personal injury cases, including those for car accidents, have a time limit of three years. The time limit usually begins on the date of the car accident. However, time limits may be tolled under certain circumstances, thus buying you extra time.
If you were injured in a car accident in Massachusetts, the time to file your lawsuit and get compensation for your injuries might be running out. Our Boston car accident attorneys can help you file your case on time and begin the legal process to get the compensation you are entitled to. Schedule a free consultation by calling the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407.
The Statute of Limitations on Massachusetts Car Accident Lawsuits
In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim related to a car accident is three years. If you miss this deadline, you are barred from ever filing your lawsuit. It is crucial to understand the statute of limitations on your case as soon as possible. Filing a lawsuit is a big decision and many people need some time to mull it over. However, if you let too much time pass by, you might lose the opportunity forever.
Do not feel pressured to file your car accident lawsuit as soon as possible because of the statute of limitations. There are some advantages to waiting a bit before beginning your lawsuit. For example, injuries from car accidents are not always obvious at first. Sometimes, the true extent of an injury is unknown until several months, or even years, later. If your injuries appear just to be some bumps and bruises, you might think suing is unnecessary. But in a year, those bumps and bruises could turn out to be a chronic pain condition worth filing a lawsuit over.
This is partially why the statute of limitations covers several years rather than a shorter period of time. People need time to process their injuries and determine if a lawsuit is the best course of action. However, statutes of limitations also prevent people from filing frivolous lawsuits years after their accidents when little to no evidence remains. For help with your car accident lawsuit, call our Cambridge personal injury attorneys right away.
Tolling a Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents in Massachusetts
In some cases, the statute of limitations may be tolled. Tolling the statute means stopping the clock and effectively buying some extra time. However, tolling the statute is not permitted simply because you mismanaged your time and failed to meet the filing deadline. Tolling is often permitted when circumstances beyond your control prevent you from filing on time.
Statutes of limitations are often tolled when the plaintiff is disabled. When talking about tolling a statute of limitation, a “disability” does not necessarily refer to differently-abled people. Instead, a disabled plaintiff is incapable of bringing the lawsuit. For example, if someone were in a coma for three months after their car accident, they would be considered disabled for those three months, and their statute would be tolled. Statutes are typically tolled for the duration of the disability. If a disability is permanent, someone may be able to bring a lawsuit on the plaintiff’s behalf as a guardian.
Statutes are also often tolled for minors because they cannot legally bring a lawsuit on their own. If a minor is injured in a car accident, the statute of limitations for their personal injury lawsuit may be tolled until they turn 18.
Still, other times a person may not realize they are injured until much later. This is often the case with injuries that do not manifest very quickly. For example, if a person suffers from a concussion in a car accident, they might not think they need to file a lawsuit. However, if their concussion turns into a chronic pain condition and they suffer frequent, severe headaches, they may be able to toll the statute of limitations because they did not know the true extent of their injuries.
Getting a statute of limitations tolled is not always easy. In some cases, a plaintiff is required to exercise “due diligence” to file the lawsuit on time before being allowed to toll the statute. If the court does not believe you fulfilled your due diligence, you might be out of luck. Call our Massachusetts personal injury lawyers for more information.
How a Massachusetts Attorney Can Help with Your Car Accident Lawsuit
If you are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit for a car accident, you might be wondering how an attorney can help you. Many people want to file a lawsuit but are worried that attorney’s fees will be too expensive. However, attempting to navigate a personal injury lawsuit without any legal counsel is a recipe for disaster.
Attorneys can help you at every step of a personal injury lawsuit. Even just filing the lawsuit has specific requirements and deadlines that you might be unaware of. Lawsuits are riddled with procedural steps before you ever get to your actual trial. If these procedural steps are missed or done incorrectly, your case may be in jeopardy. An attorney will help you not only file your lawsuit but file it on time within the relevant statute of limitations.
Once you get to trial, a lawyer can help you craft the most effective strategy for your case. Presenting your case at trial is extremely difficult. Legal professionals will heavily scrutinize your arguments and evidence and you need to be prepared to defend yourself against your opponent. Your attorney will have the skills and legal experience to zealously advocate on your behalf. Call our Boston personal injury attorneys today to discuss your case.
Call Our Massachusetts Car Accident Lawyers for a Consultation
If you or someone you know was injured in a car accident, you might be able to obtain compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Schedule a free legal consultation with our Wakefield personal injury attorneys by calling the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407.