Statutes of limitations are legal limits on how long after an injury or other event you can file a lawsuit. You can lose all right to compensation for missing the deadline by even one day. A Connecticut lawyer can help you understand how the statute of limitations applies to your case.
Connecticut's Civil Statutes of Limitations
There are many different types of civil action you may bring. The state sets specific limits for each type of suit, including these:
- Personal injury—two years from injury
- Wrongful death—two years from death
- Medical malpractice—two years from discovery of your injury, but no more than three years from the act leading to the injury
- Libel, slander or defamation—two years
- Fraud—three years
- Product liability— three years from the date of the injury or discovery of the injury, but no more than 10 years from the last time you possessed the product
- Contracts— six years for written contracts and three years for oral
Specific circumstances surrounding your case may extend or shorten these limits.
Criminal Statute of Limitations in Connecticut
Criminal statutes of limitations limit the amount of time prosecutors have to bring charges. Certain crimes have no statute of limitations. These include capital or class A felonies, murder and assisting others who have committed these crimes. Certain sexual assaults also have no time limits.
For other crimes, the time limit for filing charges depends on the seriousness of the crime. If the potential punishment for your crime is at least one year in prison, the statute of limitations is five years from the date of the crime. For most other crimes, it is one year from commission of the crime.
Filing After the Statute of Limitations Has Run Out
Once your time limit has run out, you lose your right to compensation. Even if you are allowed to file your suit, it will be dismissed if it comes to light that your filing was untimely.
You will not be able to recover damages, property or services you could otherwise be entitled to. You will still be responsible for any court costs or legal fees you incurred prior to dismissal of your case.
When the Statute of Limitations Can Be Tolled
In certain situations, statutes of limitations can be tolled, or stopped from running. This gives you extra time to file. Common reasons for tolling include bankruptcy of the defendant or fraudulent concealment of the cause of action. Once the reason no longer exists, such as resolution of a bankruptcy, the statute of limitations starts running.
Many states also toll the statutes for minors until they reach the age of majority, but Connecticut does not do this.
Statutes of Repose
A statute of repose is similar to a statute of limitations in that it imposes a limit on how long you have to file a lawsuit, but instead of being based on the date of your injury or its discovery, this limit is based on some other event. An example is the 10-year limit from your last use of a product for filing a product liability case.
Talking to an Attorney
Determining the statute of limitations for your case can get complicated. Legal representation can help protect your rights and make sure you file on time. In order for your attorney to best help you, it is vital you share all the details you can about your problem. This can help in choosing the type of case to file as well as knowing how long you have to file.