How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Case in Nebraska?
January 18, 2021 • Personal Injury
If someone else’s carelessness or recklessness gives you an injury, it is important to understand that you have the right to file a personal injury claim in pursuit of financial compensation. The most critical thing to know when pursuing compensation in Nebraska, however, is that a time limit applies.
This time limit, known as the statute of limitations, requires you to take legal action within a certain number of years. If you miss your statute of limitations, you are permanently barred from ever seeking recovery for your injury.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
Statute of limitations is the legal phrase for a deadline on bringing a claim. Every state in the US has unique statutes of limitations. The idea behind the statute of limitations is that without one, a plaintiff could wait as long as he or she wanted to bring a claim. This would unjustly hold the threat of a lawsuit over a defendant’s head indefinitely. It could also allow a plaintiff to intentionally wait until evidence in the defendant’s favor is destroyed. Furthermore, statutes of limitations serve to improve the efficiency of the civil justice system by encouraging prompt action by plaintiffs.
What Is Nebraska’s Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Cases?
For the most part, you will have four years to file a claim based on an injury or property loss in Nebraska (Nebraska Revised Statute 25-207). This statute of limitations gives you four years from the date of the accident to file, in most cases. This deadline could vary, however, depending on your specific type of case.
- Auto accident: four years
- Slip and fall accident: four years
- Product liability claim: four years
- Dog bites: four years
- Property-damage only claim: four years
- Medical malpractice: two years or one year from the date of discovery
- Workplace accident: two years (through workers’ compensation)
- Wrongful death: two years from the date of death
- Claim against the government: one year
It is incredibly important to know your statute of limitations if you plan on bringing a personal injury claim in Nebraska. In general, once the window of time for filing a claim has closed, the courts will refuse to hear the case. Even if the courts process your claim, the defendant can use the missed deadline as a reason to file a motion to have the case dismissed.
Are There Exceptions to the Rule?
There are limited exceptions to Nebraska’s statutes of limitations. The most commonly used exception is the discovery rule. The discovery rule allows a plaintiff to toll, or extend, the deadline to start on the date of injury discovery rather than the date the injury occurred. This exception is only applicable when a plaintiff did not discover his or her injury, or have reason to discover the injury, until a date after that of the accident.
Another exception to the rule in Nebraska is if the injured party is a minor. In this case, the statute of limitations is four years from the age of majority (19 in Nebraska). Thus, an injured child will have until his or her 23rd birthday to file a claim for damages, regardless of the age the injury occurred. Note, however, that the child’s parents will still have four years from the date of the incident to file a claim for their medical bills.
Act Quickly to Pursue Compensation for an Injury in Nebraska
You do not want to wait on filing a personal injury claim. Waiting too long could put you at risk of missing your statute of limitations and losing the right to seek compensation from the at-fault party forever. It is also important to act quickly if you wish to ensure the preservation of key evidence for your case.
You should contact an attorney sooner than four years after the accident, for example, if important evidence is at risk of being destroyed. The sooner you consult with a lawyer, the more time you will have to gather evidence and build a strong case.