If you’re injured in a slip and fall accident, you probably won't need to file a lawsuit to recover money for your injuries - you'll likely be making an insurance claim. However, your right to file a lawsuit in court is the main motivator for the insurance company to settle your claim for a fair amount of money. For this reason, the lawsuit time limit is crucial to your case.
Any filing deadlines for a lawsuit will be dictated by the personal injury statute of limitations in your state. These laws place a time limit on the amount of time you have to go to the local branch of your state’s civil court and get a personal injury lawsuit started. Every state’s deadline is different, but most states allow at least two years’ leeway between the injury and the filing of any lawsuit.
It’s crucial to understand the statute of limitations in your state, because if you don’t get your injury lawsuit filed before the time window closes, you can bet that the court will throw your case out as time-barred once you do decide to file it.
Every state has it's own statute of limitations. In California and Texas, for example, the time limit is two years, while in New York it's three years. Florida's law allows four years to pass. For a complete list, see our chart of state time limits.
Keep in mind that the statute of limitations is merely a deadline for getting your case started in the civil court system -- filing the initial complaint, in other words. Your case doesn’t need to be resolved before the deadline.
So, if you’re anywhere close to the filing deadline as set out in your state’s laws, but injury settlement talks are still taking place, it’s a good idea to file the lawsuit anyway, as a way of keeping your options open and protecting your rights. You can still participate in injury settlement negotiations and work toward getting your slip and fall case resolved outside of court. But you’ll also have the fallback option of letting the court resolve the matter if settlement talks stall.