I cannot stress the importance of filing your lawsuit within the time limit provided within the statute of limitations.  Hundreds of valid legal cases are dismissed every year because the plaintiff fails to file his or her claim within the specified time period.

A woman named Melissa Cloer is one example of a plaintiff who filed her lawsuit too late and forfeited her claim to any potential damages.  Her lawsuit alleged that she was injured from the hepatitis B vaccine.  According to ABA Journal, her claim for relief had a “36-month statute of limitations” and since she filed her lawsuit after that 36-month period, she was not permitted to recover any damages.

However, Cloer’s case has an uncommon twist to it.  Even though she cannot recover damages for her alleged injury because the 36-month statute of limitations had passed, she is entitled to an award of attorney fees!  U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor, opined that under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act “attorney fees may be awarded even if the lawsuit itself is filed too late.”  The Justice went on to say, "If Congress had intended to limit fee awards to timely petitions, it could easily have done so.”

What Are Statute of Limitations?

Statute of limitations sets forth the time period during which a lawsuit can be filed.  Each state has their own statutes of limitations governing lawsuits.  An experienced attorney from your state will know how to proceed with your case within the relevant statute of limitations.  To avoid forfeiture of your right to financial compensation, contact an attorney specializing in the subject matter of your lawsuit as soon as possible.  For example, as a general rule, you should bring a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer within two years of the incident or discovery.

Have you had to forfeit your claim because of your state's Statute of Limitations?