A couple of months ago, we briefly discussed injuries to minor children and the statute of limitations for those cases. Now, let’s take a closer look at the statute of limitations for car crash cases and the importance of contacting an attorney right away.
Statute Of Limitations
As we previously discussed, the statute of limitations limits the amount of time a claim can be brought in a court of law. You must serve a lawsuit related to your claim within the statute of limitations time period. If you bring your lawsuit outside of the statute of limitations, your claim will be barred, and you will not be able to have your day in court. The statute of limitations varies depending on the type of case, the specific claim you are making, the party you may have to bring suit against, and can even vary between each state.
In North Dakota, the statute of limitations for a negligence car crash case is 6 years, as set forth in N.D.C.C. § 28-01-16. This means that in most cases you must bring a lawsuit within 6 years of the date of the car crash, not a day longer.
Claims Against Political Subdivisions
Additionally, the statute of limitations is different for claims against political subdivisions, such as getting into an accident with the city bus. Personal injury claims against political subdivisions, like a city, have different deadlines that are much shorter than the standard car crash deadline. In North Dakota, the deadline for filing a claim against a political subdivision is within 3 years of the date of the car crash, which is set forth in N.D.C.C. § 32-12.1-10.
Claims Against The State
There are even more limitations if your claim is against the state. You must bring a claim against the state or state employee acting within the scope of their employment within 3 years of the crash, as stated in N.D.C.C. § 28-01-22.1 and N.D.C.C. § 32-12.2-02(4). Not only is the statute of limitations shorter, but there is also a notice requirement for these types of claims. Claims against the state require that the person bringing the claim give written notice of the claim to the director of the office of management and budget within 180 days after the injury is discovered or reasonably should have been discovered, specifically detailed in N.D.C.C. § 32-12.2-04. The written notice must include specific information, such as time, place, and circumstances of the injury, the names of any state employees known to be involved, and the amount of compensation or other relief demanded.
Claims against political subdivisions or the state can be very complex and limiting to your case. In these types of cases, there are compressed times frames for notice and/or for bringing a lawsuit. Additionally, there may be other exceptions to the rules that require further analysis, so it is very important to contact an attorney immediately for these types of claims.
If I Have Three Or Six Years To Bring My Claim, Why Do I Have To Contact An Attorney Right Away?
There are many reasons why you should contact an attorney right away after getting into a car crash, but one of the biggest issues, besides the statute of limitations and notice requirements, is the loss of evidence. We have many clients that come in 6 months or even longer after their crash because they are still having pain. While you may think this is soon enough, it really isn’t. If you wait even a few weeks, there are types of evidence that can be gone by the time you contact an attorney. Evidence, such as traffic camera videos, traffic light sequencing information, street camera videos, 911 calls, physical evidence at the scene, etc., can have a very short life span. There have been times where there was a traffic camera video that would’ve been helpful to our case, but since we weren’t contacted immediately after the accident, the traffic video was gone.
Not only is physical evidence gone over time, but also witnesses’ memories and your memory can fade. An attorney can help you document everything and may take note of seemingly unimportant details that may be the key to successfully winning your case.
Luckily, the statute of limitations in North Dakota for car crashes is fairly long for some cases. However, this does not mean that you should wait until the eleventh hour to bring your claim or meet with an attorney. Even though you don’t know the extent of your injuries right away after the car crash, it is still important to consult with an attorney to see what your options are, what are the important deadlines in your case, and to make sure that you don’t lose any vital evidence for your case.
Each personal injury case is different, and this article only summarizes very technical laws, on which, you’d be best served to seek legal advice. If you have been injured in a car crash and you are looking to consult with an attorney, please give the Personal Injury Team a call at 701-297-2890 or send us an email below. All consultations are free of charge, and any case for personal injury is on a contingency fee basis only, meaning we only recover fees if we are able to get you compensation for your harms and losses.
The information contained in this article and on this website is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem you may have related to a car crash.