Personal injury lawsuits can be time-consuming and expensive affairs. They often require years of investigation, evidence gathering, witness interviews, and attorney negotiations before they see the inside of a courtroom. As a result, it's not uncommon for states to impose time limits, or "statutes of limitations," on when such cases can be brought. But are these time limits fair, or do they serve more to protect defendants than the rights of plaintiffs? Let's take a look at both sides of the argument.
Arguments for Time Limits
One of the primary arguments favoring statutes of limitations is that they promote fairness by ensuring that cases are brought promptly before evidence has been lost or memories have faded. This, in turn, avoids the possibility of frivolous or fraudulent claims being brought years after an alleged injury occurred. By requiring plaintiffs to act within a specified period, states can also reduce the strain on courts and allow judges and juries to evaluate cases while memories remain fresh.
Limitations on Access to Justice
Critics, however, argue that these time limits can disproportionately impact certain individuals, particularly those who lack the resources or knowledge to file a lawsuit immediately following an injury. For example, someone who suffers from a debilitating condition or has been the victim of sexual assault may be hesitant to pursue legal action, either because they are physically unable to do so or because they fear additional trauma or retaliation. This can result in a "barrier to justice" for those most needing legal recourse.
Different Time Limits for Different Cases
Another issue with time limits on personal injury lawsuits is that they vary widely from state to state and even from case to case. For example, in California, the statute of limitations on most personal injury cases is two years, while in Kentucky, it's only one year. Some cases, such as medical malpractice, may have shorter time limits than others. This can be confusing for plaintiffs and can often result in cases being thrown out on technicalities rather than their merits.
Colorado Personal Injury Lawyers
Seeking the guidance of a reputable personal injury attorney, such as Boesen Law, can provide you with the expertise and support you need during this challenging time. Contact us today at (303) 327-9988 to schedule your consultation.