Providing a general answer to questions about statutes of limitations is complicated because it depends not only upon the type of case, but also on the presence of special circumstances that may affect the time period. With that said, there is generally a two-year statute of limitations for negligence cases in Connecticut. If you are dealing with a product liability case or a defective product, then the standard time period is three years. There are exceptions to the time periods that require consultation and guidance at an early juncture. For example, there might be a two-year statute of limitations for a medical negligence case in Connecticut, but if it involves a physician who is employed by the state or a medical facility owned and operated by the state, then there is a period of one year within which you must file certain notifications and the law suit.
Similarly, you may have two years to bring a case in court, but there are often earlier written notification requirements that apply. A typical example would be a claim involving a defective highway or street owned and maintained by a government entity, the state, or a municipality. There are also some exceptions involving the service of alcohol by a liquor establishment or restaurant.
One of the guiding recommendations pertinent to the statute of limitations is not waiting long after your accident before engaging legal counsel. There needs to be an immediate assessment of the parties to be notified and a close tracking of the statute of limitations and relevant notice deadlines.
In certain instances, you may not be able to bring a case, even if you are injured and have the assistance of an attorney. Careful consideration and a degree of due diligence is required in evaluating the merits of a case. This includes gathering evidence, interviewing people, and oftentimes getting the opinion of an expert before one has a good faith basis to proceed with a case. Even if you have recognized a statute of limitations that is expiring, if you do not have a good faith basis or believe that you can prove your case, it may not be prudent or ethical to proceed.
If you want to bring a claim against a healthcare facility or physician in Connecticut, you must first have an opinion by a similarly situated health care provider stating that medical negligence likely occurred. If you do not have this independent medical opinion when you file the case, then your case can be dismissed.
If you come to a lawyer too late in the process and they do not have the opportunity to complete their investigation to undertake due diligence, then they may not be able to file the case for you. Deadlines may have passed, evidence may have been lost or disappeared, or witnesses may have forgotten the events. There are many reasons to quickly obtain a competent lawyer and ensure that your rights are protected.
As discussed, the statute of limitations for catastrophic life altering injuries is going to be based on the particular circumstances of a case and then determined by statute. There is a statue in Connecticut that applies to medical negligence cases and gives a party the right to an extra 90 days if the two-year statute of limitations is about to run out. The extension has to be filed in court before the two years expires. Clearly, when you have someone who is incompetent, incapable, or deceased and cannot assert their own rights, a legal relative or responsible party should contact an attorney.
The lawyer will evaluate and advise on the statute of limitations, and get the required notices filed. A responsible representative needs to be thinking about helping the family or the individual locate and obtain proper representation at the earliest possible moment.
To learn more about statute of limitations on catastrophic injury claims in Connecticut and other beneficial information related to personal injury cases in Connecticut, I encourage you to download our pocket guide for free via this link: Book PDF Download