Did you know that almost every type of case has a timeline associated with it and you must address that timeline or you may lose your rights associated with your case? These specific timelines are called the Statute of Limitations. A Statute of Limitation, as defined by www.law.cornell.edu is: “is a law that sets the maximum amount of time that parties in a dispute have to initiate legal proceedings”.
As stated earlier, Statutes of limitations vary depending on the type of case, especially in the context of criminal cases vs. civil cases. For this, I want to concentrate on civil areas of law. Utah Code is what outlines the statute of limitations applicable in Utah. More specifically, most civil statutes of limitations, but not all, are addressed under Utah Code Title 78B, Chapter 2.
What is the Statute of Limitations in Utah?
Statute of Limitations is tolled (the legal word for suspending the running of the time period) by different actions depending on the type of case that you have. Generally, the Statute of Limitation is tolled by the filing of a Complaint in the Court system. This does vary though with an uninsured, underinsured, or a claim involving a city, county, state, or town.
Below I have highlighted some different types of civil cases and the Statutes of Limitation assigned to them under the Utah Code.
- Automobile Accident or Injury: 4 years. (This includes general negligence cases, including slip and falls.)
- Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Claims: 3 years
- PIP Benefits: 3 years from the date of rejection
- Wrongful Death: Two years – Death caused by the wrongful act or negligence of another
- Libel/Slander/False Imprisonment: One Year
- Claims that Involve City, County or Town: One Year
- Trespass or Injury to Personal Property; Three Years
Typically, if the Statute of Limitations has expired, you have lost the right to be able to bring a case. There are caveats or special circumstances which may apply to your case, which may extend the timeline. For instance, a statute of limitation applicable to a minor’s claim generally does not start to run until the minor has reached the age of majority. Also, there may be an option of looking at the date of discovery rather than the date the incident occurred. That said, Statutes of Limitation typically have no wiggle room. It is always best to speak to a qualified attorney to explore all of your options and rights. Contacting an attorney sooner rather than later is always best as your timeline starts to run as soon as the incident or accident occurs.