Statute of limitations sets out the maximum time or period after an event within which a legal action may be initiated. The time limitation protects both the plaintiff and the defendant in a legal case in that it deems it appropriate to file the action while the evidence has not deteriorated or disappeared. In many products liability cases against corporations, the statute of limitations protects the company from continuously being sued for incidents that have happened throughout its history. It also gives the parties the opportunity, or essentially forces them, to move on with their lives. The time periods for statutes of limitations depends on the specific type of action that will be brought and also varies from state to state.
In Rhode Island, the statutes of limitations for civil proceedings are found in Title 9, Chapter 9.1 of the General Laws of Rhode Island. Civil lawsuits must generally be filed within three years from when the cause of action has arisen. Examples of the type of civil cases that must be brought within three years of the accident or occurrence include medical malpractice, personal injury, and wrongful death cases.
However, products liability cases may be filed within ten years after purchase, not the injury. This extended statute of limitations also highlights the balance in allowing injured parties to bring claims for defective products and the protection granted to businesses that, although are under a duty to continuously ensure its products’ safety, are insulated from a floodgate of old lawsuits concerning products that are not manufactured or marketed anymore.
However, the failure to bring a claim within the statute of limitation time frame may not always prohibit you from bringing an action. In these circumstances, the statute of limitations is considered “tolled.” This means that there is a justification to delay the beginning or temporarily stop the statute of limitations from running for a certain period of time. This happens when the victim or the injured person is a minor or mentally incompetent, except in case of medical malpractice or wrongful death.
The law also grants an exception to cases where the negligence could not have been discovered even with reasonable efforts of the plaintiff. As an example, if there was a situation where a medical malpractice error could only have been discovered two years after a procedure, then the effective time period for bringing a claim would be five years (two years to discover and then a three year statute of limitations would begin to toll.)
Don’t Wait to File a Claim!
Personal Injury Cases Have a Statute of Limitations!
If you think you have a RI Defective Products lawsuit or RI medical malpractice or personal injury claim, and have any doubt as to whether a statute of limitations bars you from bringing your claim, you should contact a RI personal injury lawyer or medical malpractice attorney immediately. The last thing that you should worry about is dealing with time limits in filing a potential claim against another party. The attorney at d’Oliveira & Associates work with some of the leading lawyers in handling personal injury, medical malpractice, product liability and wrongful death cases and will work to make sure your legal rights are protected. Please contact the law offices of d’Oliveira & Associates at 1-800-992-6867 or fill out a contact form for a free legal consultation.