Lapsed Statute of Limitations – Legal Malpractice?

August 18, 2020

Each and every state has a time frame that allows for victims in personal injury claims processes to file the claim. These time frames are referred to as statute of limitations. After the time frame has lapsed, the victim is unable to take any legal action against responsible parties. If your lawyer is unable to make the deadline, it is likely that the victim will have no valid personal injury claim in the courts and could lead to them making a complaint against the lawyer. This article will discuss whether a personal injury lawyer’s failure to meet a claims deadline is malpractice.

According to the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute a statute of limitations is “any law that bars claims after a certain period of time passes after an injury. Statute of limitations… begin to run from the date of the injury, or the date it was discovered, or the date on which it would have been discovered with reasonable efforts.” Personal injury claims generally have a set statute of limitations requiring a legal team to file the case within the set time period. Depending on the state where the personal injury occurs, statute of limitations restrictions are between 1 to 3 years; however, some exceptions exist that can prolong this period up to 6 years. But such cases are rare and are determined by a judge. Cases that fail to be initiated before this deadline passes no longer have validity for legal action. When being handled by a lawyer, it is up to that lawyer to file the claim before the time period has lapsed.

It is important to note that malpractice is generally whereby a professional fails to execute their duty that is due to the client. Such duty is set out by generally acceptable professional standards held in that industry or profession. Malpractice is closely linked to negligence, whereby the professional is negligent in their duties or through illegal or improper activity. When an attorney fails to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations, their client may have a valid legal malpractice case. However, this is dependent upon the situation.

When a legal professional is hired to represent a client in a personal injury case, they have an obligation and duty to the client to protect their rights and seek out the best interests of this client. When the legal professional lets the statute of limitations deadline pass, they may become negligent in their duties. This is because filing the claim is an important process and without doing this some claims fail immediately. It is possible that a judge may understand the situation and grant leave to file a late notice, however, the judge may not grant this in some situations. It is possible to pursue a claim of professional malpractice against the negligent lawyer.

It is important to note the circumstances relating to allowing the deadline to pass. In some instances, deadlines pass because of administrative issues outside the control of the lawyer. To determine if you have a valid legal malpractice case contact malpractice lawyers in Memphis.

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