What is the Statute of Limitations for Filing Suit (Personal Injury Cases) on Minors in Massachusetts?
The statute of limitations determines how long you have to bring a claim after an offense was committed or an injury was sustained. In a perfect world, there would be no statute of limitations, and you could bring a case whenever you want for an injury that was committed years ago. Statute of limitations’ were created to protect defendants. After a certain period of time they can stop worrying about whether or not you are going to sue them. If you bring a claim after the statute of limitations has run, the defendant can bring it as a defense. In many cases this will lead to an outright dismissal of the case.What is the Statute of Limitations in Cases Involving Minors?
Most personal injury cases carry a three-year statute of limitations. This is to say that you have three years from the date of your injury, or the day you had reason to know of your injury, to file a claim. Personal injury claims by minors are a bit different. Instead of three years from the date of the injury, minors have three years from the date of their 18th birthday to file a claim against another party. The rationale behind this is that minors do not have full autonomy to act prior to their 18th birthday. The deadline is extended so they have three full years of opportunity to bring the suit, just like anybody else.Are There any Exceptions?
Cases of medical malpractice and wrongful death are exceptions. Minors that have suffered at the hands of medical malpractice still must be brought within three years. If they are under the age of six, however, the claim must be brought before they turn nine-years-old. There is also an exception called the “statute of repose” which says that a medical malpractice claim must be brought within seven years of the injury no matter the age of the plaintiff. The only exception is a case in which a foreign object was left inside the body. The statute of limitations for the wrongful death of a minor is three years from the date of the death or its discovery.Time is of the Essence!
These rules are a bit confusing, and can be the difference between success and an outright dismissal. Remember: your case can be thrown out simply because too much time has passed. When this occurs, it can be extremely frustrating. To avoid a dismissal, contact one of our personal injury attorneys for a free case consultation as soon as possible. Our attorneys will take the time to explain the statute of limitations as it applies to your case specifically and give you a better idea of how your case will play out. If you believe the statute of limitations has run, we recommend still contacting us. There may be a way to argue around the statute of limitations if the law provides an exception. Legal rules are in place for a reason, but the purpose of them is not to prevent otherwise legitimate claims from being brought.Contact us Today
Call us for a free consultation today at 617.492.3000 or toll-free at 800.481.6199. The personal injury attorneys at Altman & Altman LLP have two convenient locations - with offices located in Cambridge and Boston. We are empathetic to your unique situation and, most importantly, have over 50 years of experience fighting on behalf of victims of all types of injuries. We pride ourselves on being extremely responsive to our clients. We are available 24/7, including on weekends and holidays.