What Is Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations sets a deadline for when parties have the right to pursue legal action after an alleged offense. For most misdemeanors and felonies, the statute of limitations is six years in Massachusetts. However, the statute of limitations depends on the type of case.

What is the Statute of Limitations

What Is the Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations is a rule set on a state-by-state basis that sets the amount of time someone can pursue legal action for an alleged offense. The set amount of time is dependent on what type of incident occurred. For example, in Massachusetts, the statute of limitations for a slip and fall accident is three years. That means, from the date of the slip and fall accident, the victim has three years to pursue legal action to receive compensation for sustained injuries.

What Crimes Have No Statute of Limitations?

In Massachusetts, violent crimes do not have statute of limitations such as:

  • Murder
  • Indecent assault to a minor under 14
  • Indecent assault to a person with a disability
  • Rape or abuse of a minor
  • Conspiracy or accessory to a serious crime

This means that no matter how much time has passed since the incident, a criminal case can still be filed.

Statute of Limitations within Three Years in Massachusetts

Some crimes require under the statute of limitations that cases be filed within three years, including:

After the statute of limitations expires in three years for these incidents, you will be unable to pursue legal action to receive potential compensation for the incident.

Can the Statute of Limitations Be Extended?

In most cases, parties cannot pursue legal action once the statute of limitations expires. Each state sets their own statute of limitations for different felony and misdemeanor crimes. In rare instances, the statute of limitations can be extended. For example, during the COVID-19 restrictions of 2020, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court extended certain claims by 106 days that accrued before June 30, 2020.

If you are seeking to pursue legal action for an incident, it is best to take action as soon as possible to receive compensation. Legal proceedings can take anywhere from months to years. If it goes to trial, it can take much longer. Immediately following an incident, contact an experienced attorney to determine the best course of action moving forward.

Why Does the Statute of Limitations Exist?

The statute of limitations prevents unfair legal action or prosecution. The main argument for the statute of limitations is that the passage of time could result in loss of evidence. Lack of incriminating evidence could result in a lost case.

There are plenty of misdemeanor and some felony cases that a party can pursue legal action for long before the statute of limitations. Only in certain violent criminal cases, such as murder, can it take longer to accumulate the amount of evidence needed to incriminate a defendant.

Is There a Statute of Limitations on Estate Claims?

Massachusetts has a one-year statute of limitations for claims against a decedent’s estate. This means that you only have a one year period between the date of the death and when the period expires to file a lawsuit.

Is There a Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice?

In the state of Massachusetts, medical malpractice victims have three years to file a lawsuit. Under Massachusetts G.L. ch. 260 § 4, victims of malpractice, error, or mistake from physicians, surgeons, dentists, optometrists, hospitals, and sanitoria have three years to file a lawsuit. However, no legal action can commence more than seven years after the occurrence of the act.

Vaccine injury lawsuits are covered under the medical malpractice statute of limitations in Massachusetts. If you suffered injuries sustained as a direct result of a vaccine or the application of a vaccine, you may be entitled to compensation. However, it is best not to wait to pursue legal action. If you are unsure whether you are entitled to compensation, consult with an experienced attorney to determine whether you have a strong case.



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