When you are injured, you may be unsure of whether or not you should take legal action against the party or parties responsible. Your first priority should be a proper recovery from your injuries. You may contemplate reaching out to an attorney. While one should never take the civil litigation process lightly, you should not hesitate to act. After your injury occurs, there is a clock that ticks away on your time to get the compensation you need. This ticking clock is known as the Statute of Limitations, and if you don't act soon enough, your right to take legal action may disappear. Contact an attorney right away so you can focus on your recovery.
The Statute of Limitations
The Statute of Limitations exists to guarantee a time period after a person's injury in which legal may be taken action. It also exists to prevent older cases from piling up as well as to prevent frivolous litigation. Washington D.C.'s Statute of Limitations has specific limits of time depending on the nature of the case you wish to pursue:
- Personal Injury: Plaintiffs have 3 years to pursue a case for any incidents that caused them injury.
- Intentional Tort: Plaintiffs have 1 year to pursue a case for any intentional torts that caused them harm.
- Wrongful Death: Plaintiffs have 2 years from the death of their loved one to pursue a case for the wrongful death of their loved one.
There are some exceptions to this process. For instance, a minor must either have a case pursued on their behalf by a parent or legal guardian, or must wait until they are 18 before the Statute of Limitations will begin counting time. Sometimes injuries are not obvious immediately, in these situations, the Statute of Limitations may begin counting down from the time that the injury is discovered, instead of the usual three years after the incident. This is common in medical malpractice cases, and also accidents that leave individuals with lingering effects.
Suits Against the Government: Notice Requirements
Also, if you are going to pursue a case against Washington D.C. or one of its employees, you must notify the government within 6 months of the injury or damage was sustained. For claims against the federal government, you must first file an administrative claim with whatever federal agency within 2 years of the injury or damage. From here, the agency will investigate your claim, and either compensate you for it outright or reject your claim. If your claim is rejected you then have 6 months to file the case in court.
Injuries On The Job
Things are slightly different when you suffer a workplace-related injury. The first thing to know about workplace-related injuries is that you may not have a right to directly sue your employer; however, your employer will be liable and will compensate you for your injuries through Workers' Compensation. Workplace-related injuries have a much stricter process than injuries from outside your place of employment. Primarily, any workplace-related injuries must be reported within 30 days of the incident or discovery, and must be directly reported to your employer. Your employer should be able to assist you with the Workers' Compensation process when it comes to filing. They should make any and all forms that are necessary for you to obtain compensation readily and easily available for you to fill out and file. These forms are also available from Washington D.C.'s Department of Employment Services, as well. If you do not report your injuries within this window of time, you may lose your right to obtain Workers' Compensation.
Whenever you or a loved one is injured, it is best to focus your first concerns on the best recovery possible. Shortly thereafter you will want to act quickly and secure your right to a case, as the Statute of Limitations will be consistently ticking away on your chances. If you or a loved one has been injured, contact Gilman & Bedigian today.