Getting to Know Your State’s Laws: Statute of Limitations
As attorneys at Rob Levine & Associates, it’s our job to know all the details of the laws in the states we serve. It can take years to fully understand these laws and be able to apply them in real-life situations. As citizens of a state, we are obligated to abide by the various laws and regulations established by our state’s government. While people are obligated to maintain these statutes and commandments, many don’t know how the legal process works until they find themselves in a legal situation. Rob Levine & Associates aims to not only serve our community as personal injury professionals but to educate the community in preparation for any legalities they may face. When processing a claim of any kind against an at-fault party, you must consider your state’s Statute of Limitations Laws.
What is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations is essentially a time limit established by a state to ensure all claims are assessed in a timely manner. The statute in each state asks participants to begin their legal process within the time constraints, meaning that the claim does not have to be settled, but must be initiated through the legal system.
A statute of Limitations is done to protect each party involved in both civil, and criminal pursuits. Every state carries a specific set of statutes that are specific to the state’s laws. If you are injured or obtain pain and suffering due to unintentional circumstances, you have a select amount of time to come forward and being the legal process against the defendant. This is the same process for criminal cases, which are considered an intentional cause of pain and suffering. Criminal cases are categorized as more serious and often have a slightly longer time frame. The statute of limitations is important to maintain so cases don’t get dragged out. Memories can become harder to recollect, documents can get lost, and witnesses might no longer be accessible.
As a resident of Rhode Island, you have up to 3 years to file a claim regarding any personal injury case. This means if you are injured in a slip and fall, dog bite, vehicle accident, or any other personal injury, you can wait up to 3 years to file a claim to begin the process to settle your case. After this period is over, your claim is no longer valid to be tried in RI.
While this is true for all personal injury cases, there are some situations the statute does not apply to. Circumstances that involve murder, sexual assault, robbery, or any form of criminal activity have no time limit and can be resolved for as many years as needed.
Regarding personal injuries, there is a 2 year statute of limitations to file a claim in the state of Connecticut. Victims of unintentional pain and suffering have two years to initiate their case, once that time is passed the claim is very likely to be dismissed. Connecticut’s appeal to give a shorter time limit is a way for the state to keep cases relevant and up to date.
Connecticut has a more intricate statute limitation for criminal matters. If a criminal act causes someone’s suffering and the charge results in a year or more in jail, Connecticut residents can use up to 5 years to start a case against the defendant. The length of the statute is dependent on the severity of the crime.
Massachusetts has a more unique process behind its statute of limitations laws. Massachusetts offers a 3 year limit to bring your case to court and begin the legal process. The difference in Massachusetts laws in comparison to Rhode Island or Connecticut is that their 3 year limit applies to civil and criminal matters. This means, regardless of the nature of a victim’s pain and suffering, they only get 3 years to start processing their claim.
While other states handle civil and criminal cases with a different time limit due to the severity or complexity of the crime, Massachusetts uses the 3-year bar for most if not all cases regardless of the context around them. It’s important to note that although these are strict time limits if the case is considered a “special” case the state will decide to allot more time to participants. This is a very rare circumstance but is still available if needed.
All states have reasons for maintaining their specific statute of limitations. All laws per state are incredibly detailed and are not black and white. Laws are always open to being modified so it’s important to be informed about changes to your state’s laws. The laws of Your state are available to you online and in public forums to get acquainted with. The biggest takeaway from the statute of limitations is to handle your case as soon as you can. Months turn to years and waiting to establish a case will only make it difficult to settle. If you or someone you know endured pain and suffering because of a personal injury, don’t wait to establish your claim, contact Rob Levine & Associates. Attorney Rob Levine handles complex personal injury cases all over Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, and will get you the compensation you deserve. Contact the law offices of Rob Levine & Associates today!