What Does the Statute of Limitations Mean?

If you or your loved one got injured in an accident due to someone else’s fault, you may be able to file a lawsuit to pursue compensation for damages. However, there is a time limit within which you must file an action in court. That is known as the Statute of Limitations. Massachusetts General Laws stipulate the Statute of Limitations for various personal injury cases.

If you intend to file a lawsuit, you must abide by the time limits for each type of personal injury case. Consult Boston car accident and personal injury attorneys to evaluate if you have a solid case that should go to trial. They can also tell you everything you need to know about the filing deadline for your claim.

What Is the Massachusetts Statute of Limitations for Specific Personal Injury Cases?

Generally, you have a three-year deadline for filing almost all types of injury-related cases, according to Chapter 260, section 2A. Whether the claim is based on the liability principle of negligence or on intentional tort, three years is the standard Statute of Limitations for personal injury cases in Boston. That means you MUST file a complaint in the proper court by that time or else your claim is lost forever.


The same also applies to cases that involve property damages. Boston personal injury attorneys take you through what you need to know about the following types of personal injury cases:

Medical Malpractice Claims

You have three years from the date of discovery of a medical malpractice claim to file a claim. The discovery date is when you should have known you were a victim of medical malpractice arising from a doctor’s, nurse’s, or hospital’s negligence. The deadline is based on the date of discovery, not the date of injury because an injury could be hard to detect immediately.

The law provides a maximum time limit of seven years for medical malpractice claims from the date of injury, regardless of the date of discovery. If you only find out about a medical malpractice injury seven years later, you cannot bring a lawsuit against the negligent party. Let Boston personal injury lawyers help you evaluate your lawsuit eligibility.

Product Liability Claims

Injuries arising from product liability claims are similar to medical negligence claims. The injuries are latent in both cases, meaning discovering them could take a while. An excellent example is asbestos cases that can arise from long-term asbestos exposure. Some forms of asbestos-related mesothelioma may be detected after 50 years of exposure.

The Statute of Limitations for product liability claims is three years from the date of discovery. Sadly, many mesothelioma victims may never live to file a claim after diagnosis, given the devastating consequences of the disease.

If you lost a loved one due to injuries sustained by a faulty product, let Boston personal injury lawyers help you file a wrongful death claim. The Statute of Limitations for such claims is three years from the date of death.

Personal Injury Claims by Minors

If a minor is injured due to another person’s negligence, he or she has until they reach the age of 21 to file a lawsuit. Essentially, because the person is a minor, the clock for the Statute of Limitations doesn’t start ticking until they turn 18. A parent or guardian must file a lawsuit on the minor’s behalf prior to the injured minor reaching his or her 18th birthday. However, once the person turns 18, he or she can file the lawsuit in their own name, but again, only has 3 years to do so.

If you sustained injuries as a minor and wish to pursue legal action, consult skilled car accident and personal injury attorneys in Boston for legal counsel. They can evaluate your case and establish if it is within the specified deadline for legal action.

Are There Other Requirements Regarding Massachusetts Personal Injury Law?

Once you establish that you’re within the Statute of Limitations for your personal injury case, you also must meet other requirements to proceed with your claim:

  • Pay the required fee
  • File the claim in the relevant court
  • Serve the defendant
  • Attach the necessary supporting documents
  • Not file a frivolous lawsuit

Massachusetts no-fault laws prohibit you from filing a claim for damages against a defendant unless you meet the tort threshold. An analysis of several things, such as the type of injury and amount of medical bills, comes into play in determining the threshold.

Your chances of recovering damages are higher if you file a lawsuit that complies with the personal injury laws in Massachusetts. You’ll also have a more favorable outcome if you work with skilled Boston personal injury attorneys. They can fight aggressively to ensure you get the total compensation you deserve.

What Happens if a Deadline or Statute of Limitations is Not Met?

Not filing a claim within the specified Statute of Limitations means you won’t be able to pursue legal action against the negligent party. If you go ahead and later attempt to file a complaint after the period has elapsed, the defendant could file a motion to dismiss your claims. The court could grant their request based on your missing the filing deadline.

Unless there is an exception to your case, the judge will dismiss your case, meaning it is time-barred. You cannot pursue any compensation or legal action against the defendant, regardless of the severity of your injuries. Working with skilled Boston personal injury attorneys ensures you file your case quickly and get the compensation you deserve.

A Dedicated Injury Attorney Helping You File an Injury Lawsuit on Time

The success of your personal injury lawsuit significantly depends on when you file the claim. Massachusetts has a three-year general deadline for most personal injury cases. Find out from skilled personal injury lawyers in Boston if your lawsuit has any exemptions. They can evaluate the case and help you file your claim quickly.

Our law firm provides legal counsel and aggressive representation for personal injury victims. Talk to us as soon as you sustain an injury or discover it. We will help you beat the strict filing deadlines in Massachusetts as you focus on healing and recovery. Call Joel H. Schwartz P.C. at 617-742-1170 to start a FREE case assessment.