What are statutes of limitations?

Timeliness is a must when it comes to lawsuits. If you don't take swift action, your suit may not fall within the statute of limitation for a particular issue. Investopedia explains the statute of limitations and why it's so important that both you and your legal team react quickly when legal problems arise. 

Civil matters, which includes personal injury claims, almost always have statutes of limitations associated with them. Personal injuries are one example of lawsuits that have time limits attached. While the timeframe can vary from state to state, most personal injury cases expire after two years. Once this timeline has expired, you're no longer able to file a lawsuit. Statutes of limitations can also be applied to criminal cases, although not all crimes have time limits associated. 

In general, crimes of a serious nature, including murder and sexual assaults, do not have time limits associated with them. This is because people who commit these crimes are considered to be a serious threat to public safety, so no matter how much time as passed it's essential that justice is properly applied. However, some in the legal field claim that statutes of limitations play a very important role in the justice system and should be applied to all crimes, regardless of severity. 

There are concerns that when too much time elapses from when a crime is committed to when the case is finally brought to trial evidence will be insufficient to garner a conviction. For instance, evidence may be lost over the years or witnesses may misremember events. As a result, it can be difficult to properly convict the accused of committing a crime, or it can even lead to an innocent person being convicted of a crime he or she did not commit. 

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