What Is a “Statute of Limitation”?
Particularly if you are not represented by an attorney, it is extremely important that you understand that there are statutes of limitations that apply to any kind of civil claim that someone may want to assert against another person and/or business (including governmental entities, such as cities and counties). A statute of limitation is effectively a deadline by which a person who is asserting a civil claim must either settle their case or file a lawsuit – if the person asserting the claim fails to do one or the other by the date on which the applicable statute of limitations period(s) expires, after that deadline passes they are legally barred from pursuing the claim (at all).
It is also important to know that there are different statute of limitations periods that apply to different types of claims. For example, in Oregon, the statute of limitations period that applies to negligence (i.e. personal injury claims arising from car accidents, truck accidents, etc.) is two years long, while the statute of limitations period that applies to most wrongful death claims is three years long. Continuing, the statute of limitations period that applies to most breach of contract claims is six years long, however, when the claim is asserted against a person’s own insurance company (i.e. a breach of contract claim for failure to pay uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist benefits) the period is usually only two years long instead.
It is also worth noting that there can be different length statute of limitations periods in different states. As an example, as mentioned, the statute of limitations period that applies to Oregon negligence claims (car accidents, motorcycle accidents, etc.) is two years long, whereas in Washington the statute of limitations period that applies to negligence claims is instead three years long.
Correctly identifying the statute of limitations period(s) that apply to a given claim can be tricky and so retaining experienced legal counsel makes very good sense. Our firm has thirty years of experience handling numerous types of personal injury claims, including wrongful death claims, car accident and truck accident claims, and many more.
This blog article is intended to provide only a generalized summary of the applicable law and is not a substitute for legal advice obtained from retained legal counsel.