You encounter many life situations where you need to act by a deadline, and the statute of limitations is an extremely important one, especially in Personal Injury Cases, if you have been hurt in a Hawaii personal injury accident. For every type of lawsuit, including personal injury cases, there is a time limit on which a plaintiff can file a case in court.
Lawmakers enact statutes of limitations to promote efficiency in the judicial system, putting pressure on the plaintiff to move forward within a reasonable timeframe. Plus, recollections of witnesses fade over time, and the integrity of evidence may deteriorate. Imposing a deadline reduces these risks.
If you were hurt in an accident, it is critical to understand how the statute of limitations applies to your case. There are default rules, but several variables and exceptions could extend the deadline. Regardless, it is wise to take action right away, as waiting will only delay the recovery of compensation. A Kona personal injury attorney will develop a strategy for timing and assist with all important tasks for your case, but a summary of the statute of limitations is informative.
Default Rule on Statute of Limitations in Kona
The basic statute of limitations in Hawaii for personal injury cases is two years, and the clock starts to run on the date of the accident. If you allow the deadline to expire, you are barred from pursuing a lawsuit to recover compensation. In practice, the statute of limitations acts as a defense for the at-fault party whose negligence caused your injuries. Any attempt at legal action will be dismissed by the court.
The statute of limitations for personal injury claims covers a wide range of accidents, including:
- Car crashes;
- Truck accidents;
- Motorcycle collisions;
- Pedestrian and bicycle accidents;
- Slip and falls;
- Dog bites and animal attacks; and,
- Many others.
The two-year statute of limitations also applies to medical malpractice cases and injuries caused by defective products, which are also covered by personal injury laws.
Deadlines in Sexual Abuse Cases in Kona
The basic statute of limitations is subject to some exceptions, and lawmakers enacted a different rule in civil actions for sexual abuse by a person who was a minor at the time of the trauma. Therefore, you must file a lawsuit:
- Within 8 years after you turn 18 years old;
- Within 8 years after the assailant turns 18 years old if he or she was a minor at the time of the sexual abuse; or,
- Within 3 years after discovering that you suffer from an emotional disorder or injury that you developed as an adult, but which comes from an assault while you were a minor.
The latter of these three dates serves as your statute of limitations when pursuing a civil action for sexual abuse.
Extensions Through the Discovery Rule
There is another concept that takes a lawsuit out of the basic statute of limitations, and it is a key factor in medical malpractice cases. The discovery rule stops the clock for cases where you did not discover that you suffered injuries right away, and you could not have discovered the problem through reasonable diligence with your health. Instead of starting on the date that the incident of malpractice occurred, the statute of limitations begins upon the date of discovery. However, in no case can you extend the deadline by more than 6 years.
The discovery rule offers favorable treatment for patients who could not know that a sponge was left behind after surgery or with a misdiagnosis of a medical condition.
Tolling the Statute of Limitations in Kona
There are additional scenarios in which the clock is not running on the statute of limitations, including what the law refers to as infancy, insanity, or imprisonment. These are considered legal disabilities, so the two-year timer begins when the disability is removed.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Supports Your Rights in Kona
Besides working with the appropriate statute of limitations, your accident attorney will handle the important tasks and legal requirements to ensure you receive fair monetary damages. A Kona personal injury lawyer will:
- Conduct an investigation and gather critical evidence;
- Obtain and review your medical records regarding your injuries;
- Prepare a claim and demand package for the insurance company that covers the at-fault party;
- Engage in negotiations with the insurer in an attempt to settle your claim out of court; and,
- Represent you throughout the litigation process and trial, if the insurance company refuses to pay.
Count on Our Kona Personal Injury Lawyers for All Essential Tasks
The statute of limitations is just one of many rules that apply to accident claims, and it takes an in-depth knowledge of the laws to pursue your case. Legal help is critical to ensure you get the compensation you deserve, so please contact Olson & Sons, Attorneys at Law. We can schedule a no-cost consultation at our offices in Kona or Kamuela to tell you more about our legal services for personal injury matters.
Related Content: Kamuela Personal Injury Lawyers: Assisting with Injury Claim Denials