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Can I still sue after the statute of limitations has run out?

Asheville, NC |

I was injured in a car accident three years ago. A month before the statute of limitations ran out the ins. co. offered me a settlement of a little over $3200. I went back and forth with the adjuster but couldn't get anymore money. I consulted an attorney but none would take my case because the time was nearing for the statute of limitations of three years. Since the time has now run out and I didn't accept the original offer, is there anything i can do. Can I still sue or will it just get thrown out because the time has run out by a few days? I have had numerous medical treatments and continue to have neck pain for which I am receiving injections for and pain management treatment. i would like to get enough money for the medical expenses and pain and suffering i have been through.

Attorney Answers 3

  1. I would call your local Bar association to locate an attorney that can advise you. I do not practice in your state but if the statute has run it does not appear that you can still sue. You may be able to rekindle the negotiations with the insurance cimpany but a lawsuit seems shaky at best. Best wishes to you.

  2. As I am not licensed in your state, I can only provide you with some general guidance. You could file the lawsuit, however, in all likelihood, it would be dismissed based upon the statute of limitations having run. The defense of the statute of limitations running is what is called an affirmative defense and must be specifically raised by the defendant in its answer. Failure to raise the defense can waive it and a case could theoretically proceed. However, I've never seen that happened.

    It appears that during the entire time you were negotiating with the insurance carrier, you did not have an attorney. That raises an interesting issue. Many state insurance regulations require an adjuster who is dealing with a layperson to inform that person of the statute of limitations and that it will be running and may bar the claim. This may be required in writing or orally, depending upon the state in question. If the adjuster did not warn you before the statute of limitations ran, there may be a violation of your state insurance regulations, which may provide you with a new avenue of attack. I suggest you consult an attorney in your area who is familiar with your state insurance regulations pertaining to personal injury adjusters.

  3. You might try calling the insurance company or writing them and telling them that you accept their offer and take the money. However, if you have already rejected their offer, you cannot now form a contract with them. Once they are aware the statute of limitations has run they may attempt to withdraw the offer. But if you accept it first, you may still have an agreement. Once the statute of limitation runs your case will be dismissed in court if you try to file it. You could also be subject to court sanctions if you file it knowing it is not a viable claim.

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