Serving clients in Fayetteville and all of NW Arkansas
Any time you are injured in an accident, it is important that you consider filing a lawsuit for your injuries. Talking to an attorney can help you decide if this will be right for you, but one thing to consider is whether you are still within the time limit for filing. Nearly every lawsuit has a deadline to file, known as the “statute of limitations.” If you were injured in a slip and fall or otherwise tripped and fell on someone else’s property, talk to an attorney right away to avoid missing the deadline. Fayetteville slip and fall lawyer Ken Kieklak offers free consultations on new cases.
Time Limit for Filing Slip and Fall Cases
In many states, you have a strict 2-year deadline to file your injury cases. Arkansas is more generous, and gives you a full 3 years to file your personal injury cases with the courts. This category of “personal injury” includes any cases where bodily injury is involved. Injury or damage to property may be part of your case, but the focus should be on recovering compensation for your bodily injury in a case like a slip and fall.
The deadline to file a court case is incredibly important – and quite strict. However, the deadline only applies to filing the case. There is no deadline to complete the case and achieve a jury verdict. Depending on the complexity of the facts and injuries, the case can take anywhere from a few months to over a year after filing – and that time is not included in the 3-year statute of limitations period.
A statute of limitations exists for a few reasons. First, it is vital that cases are filed quickly, otherwise the evidence involved decays or degrades over time. Memory for eyewitnesses and the parties involved degrades over time, and is not reliable beyond a certain point. Secondly, if the injury is serious and really needs to be compensated, that needs to happen as soon as possible. If you wait years and years to file, it makes the case seem unimportant. Lastly, it is unfair to leave the defendant looking over their shoulder for too long, and cases should be filed somewhat promptly.
The 3-year cut off is designed to be a reasonable period. It gives you time to recover (at least partially) from your injuries, shop around for a lawyer, and get the information for your case together before filing. However, for serious injuries, it may mean contacting a lawyer to handle your case while you are still recovering from the injuries.
Filing an Injury Case Too Late in Arkansas
If you miss the deadline for your case, you may not be able to recover compensation in court. The deadline acts as a very strict rule, with very few exceptions. The deadline isn’t something that a judge or jury can ignore as a kindness to you, and if a case is filed too late, the court cannot hear it. The defendant, the party you are suing for your injuries, may raise the statute of limitations as a complete defense to the allegations against them if you file too late.
However, there are a few rules that allow you to “toll” or pause the statute of limitations clock. These exceptions apply mostly to those who cannot understand or comprehend the legal process and the injuries they suffered.
If you were under 21 at the time of injury, your statute of limitations may pause until you turn 21. That means the clock will not begin to run until you turn 21, and you will have 3 years from your 21st birthday to file your slip and fall case.
Alternatively, the clock will pause if the injured person was “insane” when the injury occurred. Severe mental illness may keep them from appreciating their injury and understanding their ability to sue. If the insanity is “cured,” they then have 3 years from the time they are well to file their case.
There are other potential ways to toll the statute of limitations on a personal injury case, but they are not usually applicable to slip and fall cases. However, that does not mean you should give up on your case if you find out you are too late to file. Always consult a lawyer to discuss the specifics of your injury case.
Fayetteville Slip and Fall Lawyer
If you or a loved one was injured in a slip and fall, trip and fall, or another accident on someone else’s property, talk to an attorney today. Fayetteville personal injury lawyer Ken Kieklak represents injury victims in a variety of personal injury cases. For your free consultation, call Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law today at (479) 251-7767.
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