I Have Been Injured: How Long do I Have to File a Lawsuit?

By Pauline Nassif, Civil Litigation Paralegal

You've been injured and have not yet contacted an experienced personal injury attorney.  It has been sometime since your injury and dealing with your insurance company has you feeling overwhelmed and in the dark.  The mounting medical bills, your recovery process and your personal finances are bearing down on you and you are thinking that you may need an expert to help you take the next step.  So how long do you have to file a lawsuit for personal injuries in Massachusetts?

The length of time to file a lawsuit is referred to as a statute of limitation. A statute of limitation is the amount of time from the date of your injury you have to file a complaint in a court of law before forfeiting that opportunity.  The statute is meant to preserve the integrity of evidence and witness testimony.  In personal injury cases, your damages will grow as time goes on.  Damages are costs incurred by you as a result of your injury and medical costs are part of the damages.  Unless you have property damage only, where there are no injuries, you able to file a lawsuit as soon as you identify the amount of damages.  When an injury is suffered, it is best to have a better idea of how much damages have been incurred before filing a lawsuit without missing the statute of limitation deadline.

In Massachusetts, the type of claim you have determines the amount of time you have to file a complaint in court.  The laws provide a three-year limit in most cases including personal injury.  The following table provides a list of Massachusetts' civil statute of limitations laws for Personal Injury, Personal Property and Professional Malpractice only.

  • Injury to Person: 3 yrs. Ch. 260 §4
  • Injury to Personal Property: 3 yrs. Ch. 260 §4
  • Professional Malpractice: 3 yrs., max. 7 yrs. (personal injury) Ch. 260 §4

You may have an excellent claim for damages, however if you do not file a lawsuit within the required statutory limit, you may miss your chance for relief. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can advise you on your claim and potential lawsuit.

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