What Is the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims in Massachusetts?

Thinking about how long you have to file a claim and pursue damages after you have been injured in Worcester may not seem important; rather than focusing on how much time you have to pursue legal action, you are probably thinking about how well your injuries will heal and how you will support yourself in the meantime.

But thinking about the amount of time that has elapsed since the date of your personal injury is critical. In fact, if you wait too long to file a claim, you could be barred from filing legal action indefinitely.

Massachusetts’ Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Claims

Each state is responsible for setting its own laws for statutes of limitation, or the amount of time that an individual has to file a civil action after an injury (or another type of civil wrong). Some states have statutes of limitation as short as a single year; others have statutes that are as long as four or more years.  In Massachusetts, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 260 Section 2A limits the amount of time that a person has to bring forth a personal injury claim after an accident to three years.

When Does the Clock on the Three-Year Limit Start Ticking?

The three-year limit on bringing forth a personal injury action is in regards to the date that the cause of action accrues. This means that if you were involved in a car accident on January 1, 2017, you have three years from that date (until January 1, 2020) to file your claim for damages.

In some cases, the statute of limitations is extended, and is based on the date of discovery rather than the date of the cause of action. The discovery of harm rule protects claimants who did not learn about their injuries until after the date of the accident. For example, a car accident could cause a brain injury that is not learned until a week or so more after the accident. In this case, the statute of limitations may be extended. The extension is also common in medical malpractice cases; for example, if a surgeon makes an error, the error may not be apparent or cause harm to the patient until months or years later, in which case the statute of limitations would apply to the date the patient knew they were harmed.

Take Action Today

If you wait too long to file your civil action and pass the statute of limitations in Massachusetts, you may be barred entirely from recovering compensation. What’s more, the longer you wait to file a claim, the more evidence in your case that could possibly be destroyed, and the longer you will have to wait to recover the compensation you’re owed. To schedule a free consultation with our law offices today to learn more about how to take legal action now, contact the Worcester personal injury attorneys at Tetzel Law, LLC by filling out the online form on our website. You can also call us directly at (617) 933-3858.