One of the most important jobs for a Utah Accident Attorney is to know and apply the statute of limitation applicable to the client's case.
A statute of limitation is a law which limits the length of time within which a lawsuit must be started before the right to sue is lost. A lawsuit is usually commenced by your accident attorney filing a "Complaint" at the clerk's office of a local court.
In a legal case, a "Complaint" is the first document filed with the court by your accident attorney stating the factual and legal basis for claiming monetary compensation against the defendant (the person being sued).
Statutes of limitation for all Utah cases are found in the Utah Code.
For vehicle accidents in Utah, the time limit for filing suit is four years from the date of the accident. However, if a city, county, or state employee caused the crash then you must comply with the provisions of the governmental immunity statutes which give you less time to take action. The Utah Code Section that defines the four-year time period for automobile accident claims is 78-12-25. If someone is killed in the vehicle crash then the Utah Wrongful Death Statute of two years applies.
An action may be brought within two years for recovery of damages for a death caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another; Utah Code Section 78-12-28.
Claim against city, county, or state
A Utah injury legal claim against a state or local governmental entity is started when a Utah accident attorney files a "Notice of Claim."
TIME FOR FILING NOTICE OF CLAIM
A Utah accident attorney is alert to the presence of an at fault party who works for a state or local governmental entity. When he sees one, he makes sure he makes a notation in his calendar or in his "docketing software" so that he will comply with the following requirement:
The notice of claim must be filed within one year after the claim arises.
The rules describing the content of a Notice of Claim are very precise and are found in Utah Code Section 63-30d-401.
A Utah accident attorney must make sure the Notice of Claim is delivered to the appropriate branch of the governmental entity and/or to the specific person designated by this statute.
Claim against federal government
A Utah accident attorney knows that claims against the federal government come under a special law passed by Congress called the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).
The statute of limitations under the FTCA for filing an administrative claim, in writing, with the appropriate Federal agency is 2 years from the date of the accrual of the claim.
The accrual of a claim begins at the moment the Government violated an individual's rights and the individual was damaged. In some cases, the accrual of the claim is not easy to determine and may be subject to interpretation by the court. While the court cannot change the two-year statute, it can interpret the date on which it begins.
Claimants may use form SF-95 to file a claim under the FTCA. However, if this form does not contain all the requirements of an administrative claim, then it is not a valid claim. In addition, not all complaint letters that request money are claims under the FTCA. Some complaint letters are simply complaint letters and should be treated as such.