After an injury that wasn’t your fault, it’s important that you get legal representation as soon as possible. That’s because waiting too long can make the insurance company more skeptical of your claim and make it more difficult to find evidence that proves you weren’t at fault. Calling a lawyer soon after your injury also makes it very unlikely that the statute of limitations on your claim will expire before you have a chance to get compensation.
Like most states, Oklahoma’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date they occurred. For most people, that’s plenty of time to get in touch with a lawyer and start the process on their claims. However, there are certain situations and scenarios that can make the statute of limitations impractical. For those situations, Oklahoma law allows for exemptions to the two-year time limit.
The Victim Was a Minor When They Were Injured
If a child is injured because of someone else’s negligence, their parents can file a personal injury lawsuit on their behalf within seven years after the date of their injury, provided they were under the age of 12 when their injury occurred. If the child was 12 or older when their injury occurred, their parents have only the typical two years from the date of their injury to file a lawsuit. However, if the child wants to pursue compensation on their own after becoming a legal adult, and their parents have not already done so, they have one year after their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit.
The Victim Was Cognitively Incapacitated By Their Injury
If a victim’s injuries cause them to become temporarily mentally incapacitated, the statute of limitations clock doesn’t start until they are declared legally competent again. For example, if a person falls into a coma or suffers a TBI after a car accident and takes years to fully recover, they would still have the full statute of limitations to file a lawsuit after recovering and being ruled mentally competent again.
The Victim Was Injured Because of Governmental Negligence
Although the government can’t be sued directly because of sovereign immunity, injured victims can still file claims against governmental employees or contractors if their negligence resulted in accidents or damages through the Oklahoma Governmental Tort Claims Act. However, the statute of limitations for these injuries is only one year from the date they occurred. If you were injured because of a government worker or contractor’s negligence, contact a lawyer right away, because with the shortened deadline, every day counts.
The Victim Didn’t Discover Their Injury Until Long After the Accident
After most accidents, victims know right away that they’ve been injured. But in a small percentage of accidents, victims may suffer internal injuries that take weeks or even months to show up. Occupational illnesses can take years to show symptoms. When victims couldn’t possibly be aware of their injuries until they became symptomatic or were discovered by their doctors, the statute of limitations clock doesn’t start running the day they are diagnosed.
The At-Fault Party Left the State or Concealed Themselves
Personal injury claims can only be successfully filed when the at-fault party can be found and contacted. When at-fault parties leave the state of Oklahoma or hide, the statute of limitations pauses for the length of time that they are unable to be located or communicated with.
The Victim Died as a Result of Their Injuries
If an injury victim passes away as a result of their injuries, their family members or the representative of their estate can file a wrongful death claim instead of a personal injury claim. Even if they never filed a personal injury claim, they have two years from the date of their loved one’s death—not the date of the accident—to file a wrongful death claim.
Our Lawyers Can Help You Understand How Much Time You Have
As you can see, the two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims doesn’t apply in all scenarios. There are many exceptions depending on the type of injury, the consequences of the injury, who it occurred to, and who caused it. Regardless of your situation, it’s important to contact an experienced Oklahoma personal injury lawyer without delay so you don’t miss your deadline and get as large a head start in pursuing your claim as possible.
At Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers, we know Oklahoma injury law, including all exemptions to the state’s standard two-year statute of limitations—including those that are both shorter and longer. Don’t risk losing the compensation you’re owed. Contact us today for a free consultation.