Recent Changes to the Statute of Limitations in Kentucky

Personal Injury | August 20, 2023

Knowing the statute of limitations is essential if you wish to bring a personal injury claim to Kentucky. Statutes of limitations apply to every type of personal injury case in the state. If you miss your statute of limitations and file too late, expect your claim to be dismissed by the courts. Talking to a Louisville personal injury attorney will help you keep up with the most recent changes to Kentucky’s statutes of limitations to protect your right to seek a financial recovery.

What Is a Statute of Limitations?

A statute of limitations is a law that gives a maximum amount of time that parties have to initiate legal proceedings. Statutes of limitations exist to keep the justice system just. Without a legal deadline in place for filing a lawsuit, an injured party (plaintiff) could feasibly wait indefinitely to bring a legal action against a defendant. This would unfairly hold the threat of legal action over a defendant and potentially allow a plaintiff to wait until important evidence for the defense is lost or destroyed.

What Happens if You Miss Your Statute of Limitations?

In Kentucky, the courts will almost always refuse to hear a case that is filed after the statute of limitations has expired. There are only a few exceptions to this rule. Even if the courts agree to hear a case that is filed late, the defendant will almost certainly bring forward the expired statute of limitations as a reason for case dismissal. This is why it is important to know and obey your statute of limitations in Kentucky.

Proposed Changes to Kentucky’s Statutes of Limitations

Kentucky’s statute of limitations on child sexual abuse cases differs from the standard personal injury time limit to file. Currently, the statute of limitations is 10 years. However, this could change if House Bill 246 gets passed into law. This bill was introduced in February 2023 to recommend the removal of the statute of limitations for civil actions arising from childhood sexual assault or abuse.

Reporting delays are common in child sex abuse cases. Survivors may struggle to come to terms with what happened to them as children or experience repressed memories that take years to recall. Child USA states that around 86 percent of child sexual abuse cases go unreported. When child sexual abuse is reported, a high percentage of cases are not brought until well into adulthood. This is why legislators such as State Representative Willner – who introduced HB 246 – are fighting to remove the statute of limitations entirely.

What Is the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in Kentucky?

Under Kentucky Revised Statutes Section 413.140, an action for an injury must be commenced within one year after the cause of action accrues. This typically means one year from the date that the accident takes place. However, if a victim does not discover his or her injury or illness right away, the statute of limitations can be tolled (paused) until the date the victim discovers or should discover the injury with reasonable diligence.

The one-year filing deadline in Kentucky applies to the majority of personal injury cases, including medical malpractice claims, premises liability cases and product liability actions. However, there are some exceptions to the rule. For example, the statute of limitations for motor vehicle accidents, including car accidents and truck accidents, is two years. In addition, an injured minor has one year from the date that he or she turns 18 to file.

To learn your exact statute of limitations and keep up with the latest changes to the law in Kentucky, contact Hendy | Johnson | Vaughn | Emery for a free case consultation with a Louisville personal injury attorney.

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