Understanding "Tolling" or Time Limits for Filing Suit

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If you’ve been injured in a car accident, a medical malpractice incident, or some other kind of personal injury incident, the last thing that you want to hear, when you go to seek justice, is that the statute of limitations on your accident has passed. Fortunately, there is sometimes a way around that, so even if you’ve been told this information, don’t give up just yet. If the statute is “tolled,” then you may still be able to file a lawsuit and to get the justice you deserve.

First of all, understand that the statute of limitations, which dictates how long after an incident has passed you may file a lawsuit or seek other legal action, varies from state to state and from one type of incident to another.  So, before you make any assumptions or believe what someone tells you about the statute of limitations, be sure to research it and how it affects your case in your state or check in with a lawyer who can provide this information for you.

In some cases, if the statute of limitations has passed, you will be unable to proceed with your case. Sometimes, though, there are exceptions, such as when the statute of limitations is “tolling.” Tolling means that the statute is legally suspended, which, in turn, means that the “clock” virtually stops, giving you more time than you would otherwise have to file your case. 

Some of the potential reasons for tolling include:

·         Discovery of Harm: the person who experienced the harm reasonably did not and could not realize it until a certain amount of time had passed

·         Fraudulent Concealment:  the person who experienced the harm had it concealed from him or her through misleading, deceptive, or contrived actions.

·         Disability: the person who experienced the harm was previously unable to bring forth a case due to a reason out of his or her control, such as being a minor or not being competent to bring forth the case.

If you think that tolling may apply in your situation, speak with a lawyer to determine if you are still able to bring forth a case. In fact, even if you think the statute of limitations may have passed, it is still worth it to check with a lawyer to be sure. Doing so could make all the difference in whether you get the justice you deserve or not.