When injuries occur, people want compensation, or so it usually goes. Everyone is entitled to a claim in the event that they are injured by the negligence of a third party. It only makes sense: those who are not responsible for their injuries should not be the ones paying for them. There is one exception to the rule though. This exception is called the “statute of limitations" and it is the only way in which a person wronged by the negligence of another may not be able to file a claim against them. The United States has this as a law not so that people wouldn’t be able to obtain the compensation they deserve, but rather, to protect defendants from false claims.
The statute of limitations is put in place because over time, evidence naturally diminishes. When a case is not “fresh" it runs the risk of leading to false results when it is examined. People’s memories may fail them after long periods of time and companies may have gotten rid of crucial evidence needed in order to make a ruling on a case. This is just one more reason for accident victims to bring their case to an attorney as soon as possible. This statute differs from what is called the statute of repose. This law maintains that time will be limited even more strictly and therefore make the action disappear, in a sense.
There is no one set rule for statute of limitations. It can differ based on location as well as occupation. Maritime workers, for example, have a specific limitation of three years. This is a provision under the Jones Act. The Jones Act, however, only applies to those who are considered seamen. A maritime worker is considered a seaman if they spend at least 30 percent of their working hours aboard a U.S. flagship in navigable waters. These workers have special provisions in the event of an injury that other maritime workers may not have.
For example, if a Jones Act worker is injured while working on a vessel, they have three years from the date of their injury in which to file a claim. After those three years are up, they are no longer entitled to compensation. There are some exceptions to this rule however. One of those exceptions may be that the date is extended because the actual injuries were not discovered until a later date. For example, if a worker was involved in an accident and they did not discover that they were suffering from an injury until a year later, instead of two years’ time to file a claim they would still have three years.
Sign up to receive a 3-part series of useful information and advice about personal injury law.