When I talk with a potential new client, I hear a lot of the same questions. One question that I get a lot is, when is it too late to file a personal injury claim? Here, I will discuss the statute of limitations in Connecticut. Knowing the best time to file will help you and your family get the compensation you deserve.
The Sooner the Better
The sooner you contact a personal injury lawyer, the better. If you have been injured in an accident and think that someone else was at fault for your injury, you may be entitled to receive compensation. A personal injury lawyer can analyze the accident and the injuries you sustained, in order to help you decide if you have a potential claim.
As I mentioned earlier, personal injury lawsuits are what I like to call “time-sensitive.” This means that you don’t have an infinite amount of time to file a personal injury lawsuit. Instead, every state has what is called a “statute of limitations.” This statute of limitations places a time limit on bringing a personal injury lawsuit.
When is it Too Late?
When the clock begins to tick for bringing a personal injury action isn’t entirely clear.
Connecticut, like many of the other states, has a two-year statute of limitations. This means that you only have two years to bring a personal injury action to receive compensation. Initially, this rule seems straightforward and simple enough, right? Not so fast – like many areas of the law, there is a catch.
When the clock begins to tick for bringing a personal injury action isn’t entirely clear. According to C.G.S. § 52-584,
“No action to recover damages for injury to the person…caused by negligence, or by reckless or wanton misconduct…shall be brought but within two years from the date when the injury is first sustained or discovered or in the exercise of reasonable care should have been discovered, and except that no such action may be brought more than three years from the date of the act or omission complained of, except that a counterclaim may be interposed in any such action any time before the pleadings in such action are finally closed.” (Lexis 2014)
This statute explains that, in general, a personal injury action must be brought within two years of the date you were injured – the date that the accident took place.
However, this statute also recognizes an important exception to this general rule. The statute acknowledges that injuries are not always immediately apparent. Sometimes, it may take months or years after the accident took place before discovering that you have sustained an injury. The statute allows the clock to begin ticking once you discover that you were injured in an accident.
Lastly, in some situations the clock may start ticking when you should have discovered the injury “in the exercise of reasonable care.” A judge determines the date by which you should have known about your injury, even if you weren’t actually aware of it by that time. This determination is based on a reasonable person standard; in other words, the judge asks by what date would the reasonable person have known about the injury.
The statute also states that, in any event, you can’t bring a personal injury claim past three years after the accident occurred.
I hope that this better answers your questions about how long you have to file a personal injury action to recover damages!