How Long Do I Have To Hire An Attorney?

The law requires that you file a lawsuit within a specified period of time depending on the nature of the claim and the entity that caused your injury. This is referred to as the statute of limitations. Failure to file suit within this time frame prevents you from filing suit at all. In some instances, there are various exceptions to the statutes of limitation that may extend or limit the limitation periods. There may be special claims presentation requirements for claims against state and local government. For these reasons, it is important to consult an attorney as early as possible to be sure you don't miss a crucial deadline.

In Hawaii, generally an action for personal injury or death caused by negligence or intentional acts must be brought within two years from the date when the cause of action accrues. In most cases, the cause of action accrues on the date of the incident, but there may be exceptions when the injury could not have reasonably been discovered until a later date. The deadline for filing a lawsuit for injuries arising out of a motor vehicle accident is generally two years from the date of the accident or two years from the date of the last no fault, worker's compensation or public assistance benefit payment related to the accident, if such payments are made. The limitation periods are tolled for minority, insanity, imprisonment, and absence from the state.

Medical malpractice claims for injury or death must be brought within two years of the time the claimant discovers or reasonably should have discovered the injury. No claim may be filed more than six years after the date of the alleged negligent act. Lawsuits on behalf of minors must be commenced within six years from the date of the wrongful act, unless the child is under the age of ten, in which case the action need only be commenced within six years from the date of injury or by the child's tenth birthday, whichever is later. The statute also allows the time limitation to be tolled during any period when the child's injury could not have been discovered through the use of reasonable diligence. With respect to claimants who are insane or imprisoned, the statutory time does not begin to run until the disability is removed.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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