Suffering an injury can be extremely shocking, painful, and emotional, especially if the injury is so serious that you’re left with long-term or permanent disabilities. In some cases, it can be even more upsetting to learn that your injury would not have occurred but for the negligence of another party, or to discover your injuries well after the accident in which you were involved or the procedure that you underwent occurred.

At the law offices of Lovenberg & Associates, P.C., we understand what suffering a serious injury means for your life. As you navigate the claims process, the statute of limitations is something important to keep in mind. If the statute of limitations has expired, here’s what you should know about your right to pursue compensation–

How Much Time Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Claim?

In Massachusetts, per Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 260, Section 2A, you have three years from the date of your injury to file a lawsuit for damages. More specifically, the statute reads that one has three years from the date that the “cause of action accrues”; this means that the clock on the statute of limitations starts ticking on the date that the accident resulting in injury occurred, be that a car accident, slip and fall, surgery that involved malpractice, dog bite, or something else. 

What Happens if the Statute of Limitations Has Expired?

If the statute of limitations expires and more than three years from the date of the cause of action pass before an injured individual files their personal injury suit, they will be barred from recovery. In other words, waiting for more than three years to file a lawsuit means forfeiting one’s right to damages. There are only a few exceptions to this rule. 

The Discovery Rule: What You Need to Know

One of the exceptions to the above rule is that of the discovery rule. The discovery rule holds that the statute of limitations doesn’t necessarily run from the date of the cause of action, but instead runs from the date that the injury was discovered or should have reasonably been discovered. The discovery rule is most commonly applied to medical malpractice claims. For example, consider a situation in which a patient undergoes a surgery and, initially, assumes that the surgery went well and all is fine. 18 months later, though, the patient starts having pain at the surgical site, as well as a number of other health complications. It takes an additional six months of suffering and follow-up for doctors to realize that at the time of the surgery (which was two years ago at this point), the surgeons left a piece of surgical sponge within the patient, which is now causing complications. As such, the statute of limitations will begin from the date of discovery, not the initial date of surgery. The discovery rule may be applied in personal injury claims as well, although it is much less common, as it is usual for most injuries to be discovered immediately. 

Call Our Personal Injury Lawyers Today

If you just discovered an injury that you believe was caused by another’s negligence but the statute of limitations has expired or is about to expire, call our Boston personal injury lawyers at (617) 973-9950 for a free consultation and an overview of your options. We are here to serve you.