Social Security Disability Lawyer

A time limit placed on a person or entity’s ability to file a lawsuit is called a statute of limitations. However, how much time you have to file, depends on the basis for the case and the state the lawsuit is filed in. In some types of cases, you may have as little as one year to file. In others, you could have decades. 

When Does the Time Start for Statutes of Limitations?

Statutes of limitations can begin in different ways depending on the laws of the state and the type of case. Three common triggers start the clock:

  • Date of harm
  • Date you should have discovered the harm
  • Date you actually discovered the harm

The date of the harm trigger starts the clock on the day the damage you are suing for was caused. For example, the statute of limitations for damages from an automobile accident usually begins on the date the accident occurred.

For some cases, time is counted based on either when you actually discovered you were harmed or, less commonly, on the date you should have discovered it. This trigger often applies in cases where the damage caused by an at-fault party is not readily apparent. For example, if you developed a disease that was caused by harmful materials used in the construction of your home, but it took years for the disease to develop or be diagnosed, the statute would begin running on the date your illness was linked to unsafe construction under this trigger. However, if you only found out about the problem years later, because you never went to the doctor, a court might determine the statute began on the date you should have made the discovery instead.

How To Determine the Applicable Statute of Limitations

To determine which statute of limitations applies, you will need to determine what type of case it is, where the damage occurred, when it happened and when it was discovered. You will either need to research the laws of the state where the damage occurred or where the lawsuit will be filed or hire an attorney to make that determination for you.

Because determining which statute of limitations laws apply and when the clock starts running can be a complex process, it may be wise to contact an attorney early in the process to avoid potentially allowing the clock to run out. An experienced social security disability lawyer in Roanoke, VA,  like The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, may be able to help you determine whether you still have a valid case and how long you have left to pursue it.

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