The Statute Of Limitations For Personal Injury Lawsuits In Oklahoma
Every state has laws that dictate how and when you can file a lawsuit in civil court. The “when” is called a statute of limitations—think of it like a deadline. If you want to ask your state court for a civil remedy for an injury, you must file a lawsuit within this time limit. Statute of limitations differ not only by state, but by the type of civil case being filed. In Oklahoma, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years from the date of your injury.
Per Oklahoma Statute §12-95, this two-year deadline applies to “civil actions other than for the recovery of real property,” which includes personal injury cases.
Whether your personal injury case is centered on negligence (car accident, slip and fall, dog attack, defective product design, etc.) the statute of limitations applies and the clock starts ticking on the date when the injury or accident occurred. It is very important you seek legal guidance as soon as possible after an incident to make sure your rights are protected.
What happens if I miss the filing deadline?
If you miss the deadline and do not file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires, you lose the right to pursue action through the civil courts. At this point, you cannot legally hold the at-fault party responsible for your damages, both economic and noneconomic.
In other words, you have no way to make anyone (whether it’s an insurance company, individual, or organization) reimburse you for any losses you suffered because of an injury or accident they caused.
That’s why it’s so important for you to seek legal help as soon as possible—an experienced attorney will guide you on the process and ensure you don’t miss deadlines.
What are the exceptions to the statute of limitations?
The statute of limitations for Oklahoma personal injury claims can be extended, or “tolled,” in certain situations. These are scenarios when it has legally been deemed impractical to enforce the two-year time limit.
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is two years from the date the person discovered the injury. This is called the discovery rule. Whereas injuries from incidents like car accidents become known almost instantly, medical mistakes could have delayed effects. Because a person may not realize they have suffered harm from a healthcare professional’s negligence for months or even years, the clock starts ticking on the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims when the plaintiff knew or should have reasonably known about the injury.
The statute of limitations for injuries to children is longer than for an adult. When a child is injured, the parents must file a lawsuit for medical bills and expenses paid by the parents within 2 years of the accident or injury. At that time, the parents may also include a claim for the child’s own damages (pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement) at that time, but are not required to do so.
This additional claim is usually best brought at the same time as the parent’s claims for medical expenses paid because evidence and witness memories are fresh. However, If the parents do not file a claim for the child’s personal injuries, the child must file a lawsuit within one (1) year after turning age 18.
The government (State, County, City, School District) cannot be sued until certain steps are taken as set forth in the Oklahoma Governmental Tort Claims Act which requires an injured person to provide written notice of claim be filed within one year from the date of occurrence.
Then, there is a 6 month deadline after the government rejects the claim to file a lawsuit. This shortened deadline and technical steps as required by the Act makes it even more important to contact a lawyer as soon as you are injured to ensure your case is handled promptly.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim On Time
Determining whether you have a case and how to proceed is something you don’t have to face on your own. An experienced lawyer will guide you through the entire process, ensuring your lawsuit is handled properly and no deadlines are missed. Contact us for a free case assessment, with no strings attached.
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