Have you or someone you know/love been involved in a slip-and-fall, an automobile accident, or any other mishap where someone else’s choices and conduct caused you harm? If so, you are likely considering filing a personal injury lawsuit in a Minnesota civil court.
However, in Minnesota, as in other jurisdictions, there are time limitations – known in the law as the Statute of Limitations, which limits the time someone has to file a personal injury lawsuit. So, if you are seriously considering moving forward with a personal injury lawsuit, it is essential to know – How long do you have to sue for personal injury? – because these time limits restrict the amount of time to file personal injury lawsuits in Minnesota.
Defining Personal Injury Law
The field of personal injury law, which is also known as tort law, refers to law that exists to protect you should you (or your property) become harmed or injured due to another person’s recklessness, carelessness, negligence, or failure to act. In a successful personal injury suit, the individual who is responsible for causing the injury or harm compensates the victim or the person who suffers a loss.
In Minnesota, a personal injury case is based upon harm that can be inflicted physically, emotionally, and financially. If you have additional questions regarding a personal injury case, talk to the seasoned accident lawyers at Tyroler Leonard Injury Law.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury in Minnesota?
Minnesota, like every state, sets forth a limit on the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit in a civil court after an injury occurs. In Minnesota, the clock that counts down the allowable time for filing a personal injury typically begins on the date of the injury.
The state of Minnesota has several relevant statutes of limitations that may apply, depending on the specifics of the personal injury case and the situation involved. The following are examples of the most common statute of limitations involving personal injury incidents –
- Six Years – If your injury is caused by negligent conduct such as –
- Two Years – If you are harmed or injured by intentional misconduct such as situations that involve –
- False Imprisonment (Minn. Stat § 541.051, Subd. 1(c))
- Three Years – If a family member passes away because of someone else’s wrongful conduct, you typically have three years from the date of the event/fatality to file a wrongful death claim. However, if the death is the result of murder, there is no statute of limitations that applies, and you can, therefore, bring a personal injury lawsuit without regard to state-imposed time restraints. (Minn Stat. § 573.02, Subd. 1)
- Four Years – If you are the victim of medical malpractice, you have four years to file your suit. (Minn. Stat. § 541.076)
Note that in Wisconsin, the statute of limitations to recover damages is three years (Wis 893.54). The law provides for a three-year deadline for the filing of any “action to recover damages for injuries to the person.” This applies to –
- Liability and the Principle of Negligence – referring to those claims filed after most mishaps like automobile accidents, slip and fall accidents, etc.
- Intentional Tort – refers to civil cases filed over assault and other types of intentional acts.
The same action claiming an intentional tort (which would be filed by the victim in a civil court) may also be criminal conduct that is prosecuted by the government.
Exceptions to the Minnesota Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
There are various scenarios delineated in Minnesota that might (a) delay the start of the statute of limitations clock timer or (b) pause the clock or timer even if it has begun to count down. The following situations represent when it is possible to extend the personal injury filing deadline set forth by Minnesota law. Examples of situations that may include a delay or pause in the statute of limitations include –
- If the injured person is a minor or under the age of 18 on the date of the incident
- If the injured person is legally insane at the time of the incident
- If the potential defendant is absent from the state (Minnesota Statutes section 541.13).
Similarly, it is noted that exceptions to Wisconsin’s personal injury statute of limitations also exist and are defined by Wisconsin law. Examples of these exceptions can be found in the state laws Section 893.16 and 893.19.
What Happens If You Miss the Personal Injury Filing Deadline?
The personal injury statute of limitations is obviously an important consideration for anyone who intends to take a personal injury case to court via a formal lawsuit. However, it is also a critical factor when negotiating a settlement for a personal injury case because the threat of a lawsuit is no longer viable or effective.
If you miss the relevant deadline but try to file the lawsuit, the defendant will ask, and likely be granted, a dismissal.
Consult with a Minnesota Leading Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you have questions about how the Minnesota statute of limitations applies to your specific personal injury situation — especially if the deadline to file is fast approaching or has already passed – it is definitely time to discuss your situation with an experienced Minnesota personal injury attorney.