Statute of Limitations in a Minor’s Case

Date: February 26, 2015
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Pedro could barely remember the auto accident he was in when he was a small child. Pedro and his family were in their van when they were rear-ended by a drunk driver. Pedro recalls being in the hospital for several weeks, but little else. As a result of the auto accident, Pedro sustained a  severe back injury which lingered to the point where he could not participate in high school sports. Pedro’s family was against the idea of bringing a law suit and nothing was ever done on Pedro’s behalf. Pedro was now nineteen years old and the accident had taken place twelve years previously.

ISSUE: Can Pedro bring a legal cause of action by filing a lawsuit or did he wait too long to do so?

ANSWER: A minor has two years starting from their eighteenth birthday to bring a claim in their own right for any injuries they may have sustained as a result of the negligence of another party. As long as Pedro institutes his suit via his lawyer before his twentieth birthday, he will have avoided the running of what is called the Statute of Limitations. The Statute of Limitations is the period of time for which you must bring a law suit against a Defendant. Once that period runs, regardless of the merits of your case, you can no longer sue under most circumstances.

Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive. Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column.

Tom Cummings
Thomas P. Cummings has been a Partner with Dougherty Leventhal & Price, LLP since 1996 and has been with the firm since 1991. He focuses his practice on workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability and personal injury cases.