Each and every year in the United States, thousands of people are injured physically or harmed in some other way due to the negligence of others. Sometimes the negligence can be attributed to the manufacturer of a defective product like a car with a bad airbag, a child’s dresser that is top heavy, a medical device that harms the patient, or a kitchen appliance that explodes for no apparent reason. If you’ve suffered injury due to no fault of your own, you may be entitled to monetary compensation, but you have to make sure you take legal action before the statute of limitations on your type of personal injury case runs out; an experienced personal injury lawyer will advise you regarding the Massachusetts statutes of limitations for your case and whether or not you may proceed with legal action.
What, exactly, is a statute of limitations?
Simply put, the statute of limitations for a personal injury case is the time period the injured party has to file legal action against the party or parties who caused the injury or harm. Once the statute of limitations expires, you cannot take legal action, except in the very rare case that a legal exception exists, and only an experienced personal injury attorney can explain these exceptions to you should they apply in your case.
Massachusetts’ personal injury statute of limitations
Personal injury, is a broad area of law that includes medical malpractice, product liability and car accident claims, the statutes of limitations vary in each state and with each type of case. In Massachusetts, personal injury legal actions must be filed within three years from the date of the injury.
Massachusetts’ medical malpractice statute of limitations
If you’ve suffered from medical malpractice, legal action must be taken within three years of the date of the procedure or action that caused injury or death or within three years of the date the injury was (or should have been) discovered. If the action is based on the presence of a foreign object being left in the injured party’s body, the limitations period will begin to run from the time the injured party discovered, or should have discovered, the foreign object.
As in other states, this statute of limitations has exceptions regarding minors: If the injured person is under the age of six, the child has until his 9th birthday to take legal action and file a claim. When the injured party is over the age of six, the three-year statute applies.
Because the date of injury is not always clear-cut in a medical malpractice case, it’s crucial to seek legal counsel from an experienced Massachusetts medical malpractice attorney.
Massachusetts’ product liability statute of limitations
Product liability cases in the Bay State have a three-year statute of limitations. The injuries caused by many defective products are often recognized when they occur. However, in the case of a medical device that injures a patient, the victim may not realize that the device caused harm for months or even years after implantation.
Massachusetts’ statute of limitations for breach of contract cases
One area of law that has wide-ranging (and often longer) statutes of limitations is what is known as “breach of contract,” which can carry a time period of 3, 4, 6, or even 20 years depending on the type of contract. An “express/implied” contract has a limit of six years; contracts for sale of goods have a four-year time limit; and contracts “under seal” have the longest statute of limitations of 20 years. To get more exact information about the time limits imposed on breaches of contract, please seek advice from an experienced business lawyer in Massachusetts to ensure your time has not run out to take legal action against the party or company that harmed you.
Criminal cases in Massachusetts also have statutes of limitations, but these tend to be longer than civil actions.