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Answering Your Legal Questions: How Long Do I Have to Decide?

D.M.R. Law Offices Feb. 24, 2022

So you’ve assessed the circumstances of your injury and have grounds for a claim. But how long do you have to decide if you’d like to pursue the case? Wisconsin law requires that you file your lawsuit, settle your claim, or give special notice within a certain time after your injury.

How Long Do I Have?

You have only a short amount of time under local, state, and federal law to file your claim and protect your rights. This time limit is called the statute of limitations. "Statutes of limitations" are laws that set time limits on how long you have to file a "civil" lawsuit, like a personal injury lawsuit. It is best to get advice from experienced legal counsel as soon as possible.

The Wisconsin statute of limitations is typically 3 years for personal injuries (per Wis. Stat. Ann. § 893.54(1)). This means you have 3 years to settle your injury claim or file a lawsuit. These time limits will depend on the legal claim or crimes involved in the case and are also different from state to state. Below are some Wisconsin statutes of limitation and notice requirements that illustrate the complexity and variety of these rules:

  • Claims against city/county/school employee – 120 days

  • Claims against state-employed physicians – 180 days

  • Claims under a fire insurance policy – 1 year

  • Worker's compensation claim – 2 years notice to the employer, 12 years to file a claim.

When Does The Statute of Limitations Time Period Start for a Personal Injury?

The time period for your statute of limitations begins on the date your claim arises, like the day of a car accident, and closes once the window of time has expired. This means that you can't file a lawsuit or settle a case after you have passed this time limit.

This is important to remember as pursuing personal injury cases can often extend to a period of 2 to 3 years due to insurance company negotiations, gathering evidence, determining responsible parties, reviewing police reports, and interviewing witnesses for your case. A good amount of time needs to be allotted to ensure your personal injury attorney is able to present your claim in the best light possible.

If you have any doubt about the statute of limitations or notice required you should consult an attorney. Remember you could risk losing your entitled compensation if you miss the Wisconsin statute of limitations by even 1 day! If you feel you need an attorney to navigate your claim, contact one without delay.