What is the Statute of Limitations?

Many people who call us at Pentlarge Law Group are curious about what the statute of limitations is. For the purpose of this blog we are generally limiting our discussion of the statute of limitations to civil personal injury cases for things such as automobile accidents, slips and falls, injuries caused by machines, etc.

In Alaska, if someone else injures you, you have a certain time period after that injury takes place within you must either settle your case with that person or have filed a lawsuit against that person. This time is known as the Statute of Limitations. If you do not resolve your case with the responsible party, you must file your lawsuit against the responsible party before the statute of limitations expires. If you fail to do so, your rights against the responsible party may be entirely lost.

The primary purpose of the statute of limitations is to protect people from having stale claims brought against them for injuries which occurred a long time ago. Thus, the statute of limitations is designed to encourage injured plaintiffs to bring their cases against defendants on a timely bases. It is also designed to prevent people from bringing old or stale claims against defendants because it is often unfair for a defendant to have to defend against an old case.

For most common injury cases in Alaska the statute of limitations is 2 years. That means you must either resolve your claim against the responsible party or file a lawsuit against them within 2 years. Workers’ Compensation matters are different. (See our blog on Workers’ Compensation.) Workers’ Compensation matters are administrative cases which have very particular and much shorter deadlines in general. If you have a workers’ compensation case we recommend you talk to the Alaska Workers’ Compensation Board or see an Alaska Workers’ Compensation attorney. At Pentlarge Law Group we do not handle workers’ compensation cases, though we do sometimes handle third-party cases arising out of workers’ compensation cases. (See our blog on Workers’ Compensation.)

The statute of limitations for injuries caused by professional negligence, such as medical malpractice, also differ in some respect. In Alaska the limit usually expires 2 years after the malpractice occurred or 2 years after you should reasonably have been aware the malpractice occurred. Determining when the statute of limitations expires in malpractice claims is usually unique to each case and you need to discuss the specific facts of your case with a lawyer as soon as possible.

This blog is not meant to discuss every applicable statute of limitations or time limit for every case. This is only a general discussion of the statute of limitations, in particular how it applies in the average personal injury case in Alaska for things such as automobile accidents and slips and falls.

For a more general discussion of the statute of limitations we recommend looking at the Wikipedia site at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/statute_of_limitations.

The bottom line here is that if you're injured, you should know that there is a time limit within which you must bring your case. Make sure to find out and know what that time limit is for your particular case. Make sure you do not let that time limit expire before you either resolve your case against the responsible party, or file a lawsuit against them. We recommend that if you are thinking of hiring an attorney, you start looking for an attorney long before the statute of limitations is scheduled to expire. Pentlarge Law Group will be happy to see if we can help you. Contact us by calling us at (907)276-1919, or initiating contact with the many contact buttons throughout our website.

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