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Statute of Limitations

Lia Kopin-Green
June 1, 2023

What is the Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations refers to laws that set the maximum time period during which legal proceedings can be initiated. The exact amount of time within which a victim can initiate legal proceedings against the alleged perpetrator may differ depending on the jurisdiction and the specific type of offense. Nonetheless, the statute of limitations typically applies to civil cases and mass torts.

Key Takeaways

  • The statute of limitations are laws that set the maximum time limit during which legal proceedings can be initiated for a particular offense or wrongdoing.
  • The exact duration permitted by a statute of limitations varies widely based on both the type of offense and the jurisdiction.
  • Generally, statute of limitations primarily pertain to civil cases, although they can also have relevance in other legal contexts, including criminal law and consumer debt matters.

Statute of Limitations in Torts

The statute of limitations in tort cases refers to the amount of time during which a plaintiff is able to file a lawsuit for a tort-related claim. The specific duration can differ based on the particular type of tort and the state where the claim will be submitted. Different states have their own laws governing statutes of limitations, which can result in significant variations in time limits from one jurisdiction to another. For example, for personal injury cases, California, Pennsylvania and Texas have a statute of limitations of 2 years. On the other hand, Alabama, Colorado and South Carolina have a personal injury statute of limitations of 6 years. Before proceeding with a tort claim, it is crucial to consult with a specialized attorney to verify the statute of limitations in your specific state. 

The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) Statute of Limitations

Under the Federal Tort Claims Act, or FTCA, the statute of limitations for a federal tort claim is generally set at 2 years. In other words, in order to bring a claim, you must do so within 2 years of an injury that occurred as a result of negligence. This act allows injured individuals to recover compensation when a federal employee causes the injury. In most cases, the FTCA applies to medical malpractice cases committed by federally employed medical professionals. It is important to note, however, that there are certain exceptions to the statute of limitations for federal tort cases. That is why obtaining individualized guidance from an attorney regarding your specific circumstances is essential.

Bottom Line

Statute of limitations is an important legal concept that plays a vital role in a number of situations, including mass tort claims. It serves to provide a framework for filing lawsuits within a specified timeframe, balancing the interests of both plaintiffs and defendants. Adhering to the statute of limitations in your jurisdiction is crucial for preserving your legal rights and ensuring access to justice. 

If you are in need of support regarding a tort claim, or any other legal issue, do not hesitate to connect with one of our expert attorneys at Attorney At Law.

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