Were you injured in a car accident? Did your neighbor’s dog bite you? Maybe your employer discriminated against you and now you’re out of a job. Whatever the situation is, you may be asking yourself: how much time do I have to sue? To some degree, the answer depends on what type of claim you have. But one thing is for certain: most claims are subject to what are known as “statutes of limitation.” Statutes of limitation establish legal time periods during which a harmed individual must file suit. If legal action is not initiated within that set time period, the harmed individual loses the right to bring that claim. So, if you plan to sue, you might want to know how much time you have before your claim expires. Which brings us once again to the question: how much time do I have to sue? To answer this question, your friends at Hepworth and Associates have provided a helpful list of some of the most common statutes of limitations. Some of them are rather short, so make sure you stay on top of your calendar!
Negligence: Car Accidents, Dog Bites, and Personal Injury Related Claims •
You must file suit within 4 years from the date of the negligent act.[i] Employment Discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) • For most situations, you must file a charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or the Utah State equivalent (the Utah Antidiscrimination and Labor Division), within 180 days from the date the violation occurred before you can obtain the right to sue.[ii-iv] Employment Discrimination based on Race, Color, Religion, Sex, or National Origin under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 •
For most situations, you must file a charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or the Utah State equivalent (the Utah Antidiscrimination and Labor Division), within 180 days from the date the violation occurred before you can obtain the right to sue.[ii-iv]
Whistleblower Protection for Utah Public Employees: Violation of the Utah Protection of Public Employees Act (UPPEA) • You must file suit within 180 days of the UPPEA violation.[v] It is important to note that the previously outlined statutes of limitations are subject to additional factors which could potentially alter the deadline for filing a lawsuit or otherwise affect your ability to sue to begin with. For example, for ADA and Title VII employment claims, “Federal employees and job applicants have a different complaint process, and generally must contact an agency EEO Counselor within 45 days.”[iv] Other factors might include, the Utah Governmental Immunity Act or the doctrine of laches. These factors are case-specific, so when you find yourself asking "how much time do I have to sue?" know that it is best to speak with an attorney as soon as possible so that you do not lose your right to sue. Make sure to keep track of the date you were first harmed. If your time is almost up, the attorneys at Hepworth & Associates are here to help. The information contained in the article is intended for educational purposes only. Nothing in this article is intended to constitute legal advice, and by no means should be construed as such. [i] U.C.A. § 78B-2-307 [ii] C.F.R. § 1601.13(a) [iii] C.F.R. § 1601.28 [iv] https://www.eeoc.gov/employees/timeliness.cfm [v] U.C.A. § 67-21-4