For almost every kind of legal case, there is a limit on the length of time you have to make a claim. This is called the statute of limitations.
The reason for this limitation is that it would be unfair to allow someone to make a claim decades after an event occurs. Their memory of the event may not be good, and evidence may have disappeared or been lost. Less accurate claims are the primary reason for this limit.
This is why you should always start your claim as soon as possible. Most statutes of limitations range between one and three years, depending on what type of claim you’re making.
How could an attorney miss the statute of limitations on your case?
It is most likely that an attorney would miss the statute of limitations because of negligence or a misunderstanding of the actual timeline of the case. For example, if an attorney makes the mistake of thinking the event was in July of 2018 and should have a case filed by July 2021, they may miss the statute of limitations if they later realize that the police report said June 2018.
Other reasons for missing the statute of limitations may be poor communication with a client, forgetting about filing paperwork, misplacing paperwork or misunderstanding the laws that apply to your case.
In reality, however, understanding the statute of limitations on a case (and adhering to it) is a very basic task for an attorney. It’s not something that should be easily missed.
If your attorney has missed the statute of limitations applying to your case, it is worth your time to look into your options. In some cases, a court may agree to allow the case to proceed. If not, you may have a legal malpractice claim.