Oklahoma’s Statutes of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims
Posted on behalf of Edwards Law Firm on Jun 13, 2017 in Personal Injury
If you were injured because of another’s negligence, you may be able to file a personal injury claim to recover compensation from the at-fault party. However, your claim must be filed within a specific time frame known as the statute of limitations.
The Edward Law Firm’s Tulsa personal injury attorneys will help you file a claim to ensure your personal injury lawsuit meets Oklahoma’s statute of limitations.
What is the Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations is a legal deadline for how long you have to file a claim against the person who caused your injury.
If the statute of limitations for your claim has passed, you lose the right to pursue legal action and seek compensation from the at-fault party.
How Long Do I Have to Pursue a Claim?
In Oklahoma, you have two years to pursue legal action through several forms of personal injury claims, such as:
- General personal injury
- Medical malpractice
- Products liability
- Wrongful death
If your claim is related to any of the previously mentioned categories of personal injury claims, you must take action within the two-year deadline to recover compensation.
When Does the Statute of Limitations Begin?
Typically, the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim begins on the date you are injured.
Similarly, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims typically begins on the date of the decedent’s death.
However, there are exceptions that may change the time limit Oklahoma allows for the statute of limitations for personal injury claims.
Some injuries may not immediately show signs or symptoms and may appear weeks or months after you initially acquire it.
In this situation, Oklahoma uses the “discovery rule” to change the time limit you have to file a personal injury claim.
Under the discovery rule, the statute of limitations begins on the date you first discovered your injury, or should have discovered it by using reasonable care.
The discovery rule is often used in cases of medical malpractice, such as when an instrument is left in the body during an operation and is not discovered until much later.
Statute of Repose
The statute of repose provides a date upon which you are no longer able to pursue legal action or seek compensation against the at-fault party.
It is a stricter deadline than the statute of limitations because it does not provide any exceptions for extending the deadline.
This means actions like the discovery rule will not apply to your claim if the statute of repose has passed. You must be careful to file your claim within this time period or else it will be denied by a court.
Tolling of the Oklahoma Statute of Limitations
In certain situations, the statute of limitations may be temporarily halted, or tolled. This is common in cases involving minors or mentally incompetent victims.
If a minor has suffered a personal injury, the statute of limitations will be tolled until the victim reaches the age of 18.
From the victim’s 18th birthday, he or she will have one year to file a personal injury lawsuit against any liable parties.
In cases of medical malpractice, the tolling of the statute of limitations for minors runs differently.
- If the medical malpractice victim is under the age of 12, the victim’s parent or legal guardian has seven years from the date of the accident that caused the injury to bring a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of the minor.
- If the medical malpractice victim is between the ages of 12 and 17 when the negligent act causing their injury occurs, the victim will have one year after his or her 18th birthday to file a personal injury lawsuit. The victim may not file a medical malpractice lawsuit within two years of the date of the injury in any case.
Mentally Incompetent Victims
If a personal injury victim is declared mentally incompetent at the time he or she is injured, the statute of limitations can be tolled.
The statute of limitations will resume upon the date in which the victim is no longer considered mentally incompetent or seven years past the date in which the injury occurred, depending on the type of action taken.
Contact an Oklahoma Personal Injury Lawyer
The Oklahoma personal injury attorneys of The Edwards Law Firm are dedicated to recovering the compensation personal injury victims deserve.
Your initial consultation is free of charge and you are under no obligation to pursue a case.
Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means we will not charge you any legal fees unless we recover compensation on your behalf.