Minnesota Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
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When you suffer injuries in an accident in Minnesota, you may reserve the right to seek compensation for the costs of your medical treatment, loss of income, and emotional distress.
However, you won’t have unlimited time to assert your rights. Minnesota law limits the time frame in which you can file a personal injury claim, lawsuit, or damages. This is known as the statute of limitations.
What is the statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Minnesota?
In most personal injury cases, the statute of limitations in Minnesota is six years, as established by Minn. Stat. §541.05, Subd. 1(5). This generally gives you until the sixth anniversary of your accident or the date you discovered your injury to take legal action. The six-year statute of limitations applies to personal injury cases involving:
- Car accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Slip-and-fall accidents
- Dog bites
- Matters of premises liability
- Nursing home abuse
At certain times, a different statute of limitations will apply.
In Minnesota, wrongful death lawsuits are subject to a three-year statute of limitations and must be within the six-year window of the victim’s original injury. This gives surviving family members until the third anniversary of their loved one’s wrongful death to file a claim for damages.
Minnesota law provides a four-year time limit on medical malpractice lawsuits. The statute of limitations begins to run on the date of the act of medical negligence or when an injury is discovered, whichever is later.
A seven-year statute of limitation applies when a child suffers a birth injury in Minnesota. However, this clock begins to run down once the child turns 18. If the disability ceases, the child has one year from recovery to pursue damages.
If you get hurt in a construction accident or suffer injuries in another work-related incident, you may qualify to receive workers’ compensation benefits. You have between three and six years to file a claim—it depends on whether or not your employer filed a First Report of Injury.
If your employer filed the First Report of Injury, you have three years from the date it was submitted to request workers’ compensation benefits.
If your employer did not submit the form, you have six years from the date of your work-related injury or illness to seek benefits through their workers’ compensation insurance policy.
If you are injured because of a defective or unreasonably dangerous product, you have four years to file a product liability lawsuit. While Minnesota has no statute of repose on product liability claims, state law provides that these types of strict liability claims must be brought within the “ordinary useful life of the product,” which could affect the amount of time you have to seek compensation.
Government Tort Claims
For personal injury cases involving a Minnesota state, county, or city government agency, you will face an accelerated timetable for recovery.
- Personal injury: 180 days to provide notice of the injury to the government agency
- Wrongful death: 1 year to provide notice to the government agency
Failing to provide notice within these specific time frames will bar financial recovery.
Injuries to Children
Children have until their 19th birthday to file a personal injury lawsuit unless a parent or guardian brings a claim on their behalf.
Can the statute of limitations for Minnesota personal injury cases be extended?
Yes, at times, the statute of limitations can be tolled, or paused, for a period. This can happen when:
- The victim is a child
- The victim’s insanity or another similar disability is an issue
- The defendant in a personal injury action leaves the state or can’t be located
- The defendant is facing related criminal charges
In these situations, the statute of limitations is paused until the tolling factor—age, disability, defendant status—is no longer an issue.
What happens if I don’t file my personal injury lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires?
You will lose the opportunity to assert your legal rights and demand compensation for the injuries and suffering you have endured. Remember, the statute of limitations exists to promote fairness and accuracy in the litigation of personal injury matters.
The state doesn’t want someone who caused a car accident to get sued for the crash years down the road, long after the collision happened. If they are clearly at fault (or share responsibility), they should be subject to litigation within a reasonable time after the crash.
Additionally, evidence related to personal injury claims can get lost, erased, destroyed, or otherwise damaged over time. The sooner a personal injury action is filed, the better. Cases can then be based on strong, uncompromised evidence and lend to a better application of justice.
Here is the bottom line: You will be solely responsible for the costs and consequences of your injuries if you allow the statute of limitations to expire. You are also much more likely to win your case and maximize your recovery if you take prompt action.
The Trusted Personal Injury Attorneys at Milavetz Law Are Here To Help
Contact an experienced personal injury attorney near you promptly after you discover you have been injured. At Milavetz Law P.A., you will benefit from a team of award-winning Minnesota trial attorneys who have advocated for injury victims and grieving families since 1963.
Call our legal team to discuss the timeline for your personal injury case and discover how we can help you get the compensation you deserve. Your first case assessment is free, so call us today.
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Minneapolis, MN 55401