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A statute of limitations is a law that places a time limit for a person to bring some kind of legal action. For example, in the personal injury context, a person generally has three years from the date of the injury to either settle their claim or to file a lawsuit. In other situations, a shorter time period may apply.

The earlier a person contacts a Durham personal injury lawyer the better they can make sure they are aware of any time limitations that apply to their case so they can act in a timely manner and not give up any of their rights. The case must be resolved or a lawsuit filed within the statute of limitations.

Discovery of Harm Rule

The discovery of harm rule suspends the statute of limitations in certain situations until the injury is discovered or should have been discovered. An example is when harm is caused during a surgery and is not immediately identifiable. As time goes by, another doctor may discover that the harm or injury was caused during an earlier procedure. The time a person has to bring that claim does not begin with the original procedure that caused the harm. The discovery of harm rule extends the time to when the cause of the harm is identified and is when the statute of limitations begins.

Claim Adjusters

By talking to a personal injury lawyer a person can make sure they understand what time limitations or rules apply to their claim. Claims adjusters work for the benefit of the insurance company, not the injured person. Sometimes adjusters tell the injured person things that may or may not be true. The injured person can best ensure that adjusters do not weaken their opportunity to collect on their claim by consulting with a lawyer and knowing what rules apply to their claim.

Statute of Limitations for Minors

For minors, different rules may apply. The statute of limitations continues for three years after the date of the minor’s eighteenth birthday.

With minors, the case becomes complicated because different rules may apply to the minor and to the parents. When it comes to a minor, the parents are legally responsible for the medical bills of the minor. The parents have three years to bring their claim for medical expenses incurred on behalf of their child. The minor child has a claim for the bodily injuries and generally the three-year statute applies. However, the minor child may want to wait until they turn 18 to pursue the claim. The case is really technical and it is best to consult with a lawyer to identify the appropriate time periods and how the parties wish to pursue those claims.

A parent can best ensure their child’s claim does not ruin their opportunity to collect in a personal injury case by consulting with a personal injury lawyer and making sure they understand what claims need to be pursued within what period of time.

Discovery of Harm for Minors

The discovery of harm rule is when a party, in this case, a minor actually discovers that harm was caused by an alleged negligent act. The statute of limitations does not start running until the harm is discovered, or after the individual turns 18.