There is a rule in the law known as a statute of limitations. This applies to criminal cases as well as civil cases. In matters involving a personal injury claim, the victim has a limited period to file a legal claim. Once that threshold passes, the victim forfeits their right to sue. The laws vary here in Connecticut, but two years is the general rule from when the injury occurred or discovered. Minors have a longer time to make their claims.
Discovery of harm also a concern
Not all personal injury claims involve a slip and fall, motor vehicle crash or other incidents where there was clearly a severe injury. The term “discovery of harm” refers to when it became clear that there was an injury.
For example, a medical malpractice lawsuit may allege that a surgeon left a temporary bandage in the patient. It may not be discovered until well after the surgery, perhaps four years later, when another medical procedure occurred. The patient would not know there was a bandage inside them until another medical professional discovered it. Once the discovery occurred, the clock on the statute of limitations begins.
However, the case may be barred if that patient had suffered years of pain because of the lost bandage, yet they never sought medical treatment to resolve the pain or discomfort. In this case, they discovered or knew about the pain caused by the error, but they never did anything about it.
It is best not to delay
Those severely injured in traumatic events should immediately seek medical help. They can then work towards the best possible recovery. It may become clear from the injuries that they will not have the same quality of life they had before the injury or illness. Once the injuries’ extent is accurately determined, it is wise to contact a personal injury attorney.
The same also applies to those involved in the discovery of a harmful situation. In this case, those who find themselves injured by medical malpractice, repetitive movements at work or some other subtle but debilitating injury caused by work should similarly not delay once they receive a diagnosis.