Personal injury cases are perhaps the broadest category of legal cases and encompass many instances of unjust harm related to everything from asbestos to explosions to vaccinations to pharmacy errors. One of the most crucial elements of any personal injury case is its timeliness. How long after the injury is the plaintiff seeking reparations for any harm done? If you plan to sue for damages, you are generally allowed the right to do so until a certain amount of time has passed. This restriction on the allowable recency of a legal claim is known as a “statute of limitations.” In this article, we will explore many aspects of the statute of limitations and what that means for your personal injury case.

The statute of limitations generally begins as soon as a personal injury happens or is discovered to have happened. The length of a statute of limitations depends on state law and certain other factors like if the case is civil or criminal. In Wisconsin, for example, the statute of limitations for Civil Injury to Person is three years. This means that you are granted legal opportunity to sue for up to three years following the injury or discovery of said injury. After that three years, it becomes much harder to take legal recourse against the crime, if it’s even allowed at all. The purpose of a statute of limitations is to prevent legal issues from causing unnecessary strife in someone’s life. It seems like it would be unfair to force people to live their entire lives under a constant threat of a potential lawsuit.

If your personal injury case is within the statute of limitations and you wish to sue, here’s what you should know: Many cases don’t actually go to court and are settled by lawyers outside of the courthouse. This is the ideal scenario because it is a lot less trouble for everyone if all involved parties are able to reach a reasonable agreement. These informal agreements are referred to as “settlements” and usually include financial compensation for whatever harm was done to the individual suing. If, however, a settlement is not reached, the next step would be to file a formal lawsuit. Personal injury cases are typically filed as civil lawsuits, as they are between two parties separate from the government. Criminal lawsuits, conversely, are enacted by the government against an individual or group like a corporation. When a formal lawsuit is filed, your lawyer will handle most of the important things like representing you in a court of law and communicating with the defendant. A verdict will eventually be reached and any reparations will be determined by the court.

If you believe that you have suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence and wish to seek compensation for your damages, you should perform your own research to determine if your claim is within its respective statute of limitations and contact a lawyer with any questions to see if you are eligible for legal representation.