When you are in an accident and have a personal injury, there is a time limit in which you can take legal action to receive compensation. This a statute of limitations. They govern the period of time during which any legal action can be initiated against a defendant in order to protect them.
Why Are There Statute of Limitations?
The reason for the creation of statutes of limitations is as a protection for defendants from unfair prosecution. With the passage of time, evidence can be lost which can hinder a case and produce an unfair verdict. Eye witness testimony becomes unreliable over time and the court can’t expect witnesses to remember details from years or decades earlier. It is seen as unjust to make a civil claim against a person for something they did in the distant past.
What is a Statute of Limitations?
There has been statute of limitations laws since ancient Greece where all crimes excluding murder had a 5-year limit. During the Roman Empire, there were statute of limitation laws in different countries written into common law. English law adopted them in the 17th century.
Statutes of limitations vary in length depending on the type of crimes committed. Serious offenses usually span long periods of time while civil crimes can be shorter. When the time period has expired there can be no civil or criminal actions taken against the defendant.
In some cases, a statute of limitations can be paused. For a minor, the statute may be on hold until they reach legal age. Most civil cases are subject to statutes of limitations while serious crimes may not have any and they can differ from state to state.
Statutes of limitations are in place for protection and to ensure a fair trial. Understanding these laws will better prepare you in the event that you have an accident and suffer a personal injury.
Shamis and Gentile, P.A. is a law firm, focusing on personal injury, class actions, mass torts, and personal injury protection. We are ready to assist you today. Call us for more information.