Ordinarily, in Rhode Island personal injury actions, an injured person must file a lawsuit in court within three years from the date the negligence occurred. This three-year time period is called the “statute of limitations.”
However, there are many exceptions to this three-year rule or three-year “statute of limitations.” The most common exception to the statute of limitations is what is referred to as the “discovery rule.” This rule says that the statute of limitations begins to run from the date when the negligence could reasonably have been discovered.
Particularly in the medical negligence arena, it is sometimes difficult or impossible for the victim to be aware of the medical provider’s negligence at the time it actually occurs. Quite often, a victim of medical negligence only learns of the medical error when further medical complications arise and the individual seeks additional care.
Other common exceptions to the statute of limitations also may apply. For example, the statute of limitations for injuries sustained by a child begins to run when that child turns 18. Similarly, if someone is under a “disability,” the statute of limitations may be tolled (put on hold) during the period of disability.
Obtaining legal representation as soon as possible after an injury occurs is always best. Call Marasco & Nesselbush for a free consultation. However, do not assume you won’t be able to recover for your injuries simply because too much time has passed. If you have a question about whether an action is timely, seek a legal opinion. Call us. Your action may fall under one of the many exceptions to the general statute of limitations rule.