Personal Injury Statute of Limitations Massachusetts

Personal injuries can be traumatic experiences, often resulting in physical, emotional, and financial burdens. If you’ve sustained an injury due to someone else’s negligence in Massachusetts, understanding the statute of limitations is crucial. This legal timeframe dictates how long you have to file a lawsuit after an injury occurs.

Statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuit

What Is a Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations sets forth the timeframe within which a plaintiff must initiate legal proceedings against the party responsible for their injury. In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is generally three years from the date of the injury, as outlined in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 260, Section 2A.

Exceptions and Special Circumstances

While the standard statute of limitations is three years, there are exceptions and special circumstances that may alter this timeframe. These include the discovery rule, if minors were involved in the accident, if the party responsible is a government entity, and cases involving wrongful death.

Discovery Rule

In cases where the injury is not immediately apparent, such as medical malpractice or toxic exposure, the statute of limitations may begin from the date the injury is discovered or reasonably should have been discovered.


If the injured party is a minor at the time of the incident, the statute of limitations may be tolled, meaning it doesn’t begin until the individual reaches the age of 18. Massachusetts law takes incidents involving minors very seriously, and may treat them differently when filing a claim as well.

Government Entities

If the responsible party is a government entity, there may be shorter deadlines and specific procedural requirements for filing a claim. There are specific guidelines for filing a lawsuit against a government entity. You may have to file a claim differently depending on whether it is against the federal, state, or local government.

Wrongful Death

Wrongful death lawsuits are filed differently than personal injury claims. These result when someone files a lawsuit on behalf of a loved due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing. In cases of wrongful death, the statute of limitations begins from the date of death rather than the date of the injury.

The Importance of Timely Action

Adhering to the statute of limitations is crucial for several reasons. Over time, evidence crucial to your case may degrade or become lost. Initiating legal action promptly helps preserve evidence and strengthen your case. In addition, witnesses’ memories may fade over time, making their testimony less reliable. Prompt action ensures that witness statements are obtained while the events are fresh in their minds. If you fail to file within the statute of limitations, this can result in your case being dismissed, depriving you of the opportunity to seek compensation for your injuries.

How to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

If you’ve suffered a personal injury in Massachusetts, taking the following steps can help protect your legal rights:

  • Seek Medical Attention: Your health and well-being should be your top priority. Seek medical attention for your injuries promptly.
  • Document Evidence: Take photographs of the accident scene, your injuries, and any property damage. Collect contact information from witnesses.
  • Consult an Attorney: An experienced personal injury attorney can provide invaluable guidance and representation throughout the legal process. They can assess the merits of your case, navigate complex legal procedures, and advocate for your rights.
  • Act Promptly: Don’t delay in pursuing legal action. Consult with an attorney as soon as possible to ensure compliance with the statute of limitations.

Consequences of Delay

Failing to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations can have severe consequences. Once the statute of limitations expires, you lose the right to pursue legal action for your injuries. Your claim will be barred, and you’ll be unable to seek compensation through the court system. Delaying legal action may also result in the loss of crucial evidence and witnesses, weakening your case and diminishing your chances of success. Without compensation for your injuries, you could risk facing significant financial burdens, including medical expenses, lost wages, and ongoing rehabilitation costs.

Navigating the personal injury statute of limitations in Massachusetts is essential for protecting your legal rights and pursuing compensation for your injuries. Understanding the applicable deadlines, exceptions, and consequences of delay is crucial for making informed decisions about your case. By taking prompt action, seeking legal guidance, and adhering to the statute of limitations, you can maximize your chances of securing the compensation you deserve. Remember, time is of the essence in personal injury cases – don’t delay in asserting your rights.



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