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Personal Injury Laws by State – Understanding the Differences

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Although every state provides a means by which an injured individual can receive compensation for the losses they sustained, there are some important differences when it comes to personal injury laws by state. Understanding what the rules are where you live is important when it comes to successfully filing a personal injury claim and recovering losses for your injuries. An important difference from one state to the next often includes statute of limitations. Certain types of claims have longer and shorter statute of limitations than others. Claims such as wrongful death, libel and slander, and medical malpractice are all likely to have different statutes of limitations.

The laws on negligence also vary from one state to the next which is why it is important to review injury laws for each state. For example, in certain states injured individuals who are responsible for even a portion of the injury that they sustained are barred from suing the other party. In other states, however, an individual can sue another person who is responsible for as little as 1% of the damages. Some states have what is known as a 50% rule which allow a plaintiff to collect compensation only if they are 50% or less responsible.

Another thing to keep in mind when reviewing injury lawsuit by state is the fact that there are states that have no fault rules. In states with these laws, individuals involved in automobile accidents cannot file a personal injury lawsuit unless they have sustained what are deemed as serious injuries. Like other aspects of personal injury laws, the definition of exactly what qualifies as a serious injury varies from one state to the next. Other states may allow an individual to sue the other party if they are deemed responsible for the accident.

Important State by State Personal Injury Rules

State Statute of Limitations Negligence Rules Car Accident Rules
AL Alabama 2 years Contributory negligence Fault
AK Alaska 2 years Pure comparative negligence Fault
AZ Arizona 2 years; 1 year for libel/slander Pure comparative negligence Fault
AR Arkansas 3 years for libel, wrongful death; 2 years for medical malpractice; 1 year slander 50% rule Fault
CA California 2 years for intentional torts; 1 year for libel/slander Pure comparative negligence Fault
CO Colorado 2 years; 1 year libel/slander 50% rule Fault
CT Connecticut 2 years 51% rule Fault
DE Delaware 2 years 51% rule Fault
DC District of Columbia 3 years; 1 year libel/slander Contributory negligence Choice no fault
FL Florida 4 years; 2 years medical malpractice, label/slander Pure comparative negligence No fault
GA Georgia 2 years; 1 year libel/slander 50% rule Fault
HI Hawaii 2 years 51% rule No fault
ID Idaho 2 years 50% rule Fault
IL Illinois 2 years; 1 year defamation 51% rule Fault
IN Indiana 2 years 51% rule Fault
IA Iowa 2 years 51% rule Fault
KS Kansas 2 years; 1 year libel/slander 50% rule No fault
State Statute of Limitations Negligence Rules Car Accident Rules
KY Kentucky 1 year Pure comparative negligence Choice no fault
LA Louisiana 1 year Pure comparative negligence Fault
ME Maine 6 years; 2 years libel/slander 50% rule Fault
MD Maryland 3 years; 1 year libel/slander Contributory negligence Fault
MA Massachusetts 3 years 51% rule No fault
MI Michigan 3 years; 1 year libel/slander 51% rule No fault
MN Minnesota 2 years 51% rule No fault
MS Mississippi 3 years; 2 years malpractice; 1 year libel/slander Pure comparative negligence Fault
MO Missouri 5 years; 2 years malpractice, libel/slander Pure comparative negligence Fault
MT Montana 3 years; 2 years libel/slander 51% rule Fault
NE Nebraska 4 years; 2 years malpractice; 1 year libel/slander 50% rule Fault
NV Nevada 2 years 51% rule Fault
NH New Hampshire 3 years 51% rule Fault
NJ New Jersey 2 years; 1 year libel/slander 51% rule Choice no fault
NM New Mexico 3 years Pure comparative negligence Fault
NY New York 3 years; 2.5 years malpractice; 1 year libel/slander Pure comparative negligence No fault
NC North Carolina 3 years; 2 years wrongful death; 1 year libel/slander Contributory negligence Fault
State Statute of Limitations Negligence Rules Car Accident Rules
ND North Dakota 6 years; 2 years wrongful death, libel/slander 50% rule No fault
OH Ohio 2 years 51% rule Fault
OK Oklahoma 2 years; 1 year libel/slander 50% rule Fault
OR Oregon 2 years medical malpractice, personal injury; 1 year libel/slander 51% rule Fault
PA Pennsylvania 2 years; 1 year libel/slander 51% rule Choice no fault
RI Rhode Island 3 years; 1 year libel/slander Pure comparative negligence Fault
SC South Carolina 3 years; 2 years libel/slander 51% rule Fault
SD South Dakota 3 years; 2 years medical malpractice, libel/slander Pure comparative negligence Fault
TN Tennessee 1 year; 6 months libel/slander 50% rule Fault
TX Texas 2 years; 1 year libel/slander 51% rule Fault
UT Utah 4 years; 2 years wrongful death; 1 year libel/slander 50% rule No fault
VT Vermont 3 years 51% rule Fault
VA Virginia 2 years; 1 year libel/slander Contributory negligence Fault
WA Washington 3 years; 1 year libel/slander Pure comparative negligence Fault
WV West Virginia 2 years 50% rule Fault
WI Wisconsin 3 years; 2 years libel/slander 51% rule Fault
WY Wyoming 4 years; 1 year libel/slander 51% rule Fault

Understanding the differences between personal injury laws by state will help a person to determine whether or not their particular case is worth pursuing. There are also caps in place in some states as far as the amount of damages that a person can collect. One way to sort out these different laws is to contact a qualified personal injury attorney. They will have the expertise and experience necessary to help you navigate your way through the complex laws that are in place in your state. This is especially important if your case is especially complex or if you have sustained serious injuries due to the negligence of another individual.

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Current Topic: Personal injury laws by state varies from one state to another. The table above provides a summary of the important rules.

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