Wisconsin Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

Statutes of limitations are laws that limit the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit.  There are deadlines for many different types of cases, including personal injury claims.  In Wisconsin, the general rule is that you have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit.  However, there are many exceptions to the three-year general rule for filing a personal injury lawsuit.  It is therefore important that you consult an experienced Milwaukee injury attorney as soon as possible if you are thinking about filing a personal injury claim.  If you do not bring your claim within the period allowed by the statute of limitations, you will be prevented from ever pursuing your claim in the future.  Many injury victims have lost the right to seek compensation for their injuries because they did not comply with the statute of limitations.

Generally, the Wisconsin Statute of Limitations is Three Years

As outlined in Section 893.54 Wisconsin Statutes, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Wisconsin is three years. However, the date that the time begins to run can vary.

The statute of limitations generally begins:

  • From the time of the injury
  • For injuries that you were not aware of, from the time of discovery of the injury

The full extent of some injuries may not be immediately apparent and may result in medical costs and other damages that you did not initially know about. An example of this type of injury is a traumatic brain injury, which might seem like a headache after an accident, but could lead to permanent damage to the brain.

In other situations, such as mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos, it may be many years from the time of the initial exposure to asbestos before your symptoms develop.  Just because your symptoms took time to emerge does not prevent you from bringing a claim to collect on your damages.  It is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible following your accident so that you do not lose your right to file a claim and give up the compensation you are legally entitled to.

Other Factors May Lengthen or Shorten the Time Limit

Not all cases are straightforward forward and many exceptions to the three-year statute of limitations rule may come into play.  For example, if your claim involves a municipal or governmental entity, you must notify them in writing within 120 days.  In cases involving wrongful death that was caused by a motor vehicle accident, the statute of limitations is only two years.

In other cases, the time for filing your claim may be extended.  This includes:

Section 893.16 Wisconsin Statutes Person under disability: If at the time of the accident, the injured person is under the age of 18 or “mentally ill”, a lawsuit may be filed within two years once the person turns 18 or the disability is removed.  It is important to note that in cases involving a “mentally ill” person, the disability must have existed when the accident occurred and the window may only be extended for up to five years.

Section 893.19 Wisconsin Statutes: If the person responsible for the accident or injuries leaves the state after the accident but before a lawsuit can be filed, the period he or she is absent from the state may not be counted toward the statute of limitations deadline.

Your Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

Understanding how the law and case precedent apply to the unique facts and circumstances of your case can be difficult.  While no two cases are exactly the same, obtaining an experienced personal injury attorney is the best way to avoid losing your right to be compensated for your injuries because you did not comply with the statute of limitations.

If you have any questions regarding how the statute of limitations applies to your case, we would love to talk to you. Reach out today to schedule a consultation for a free and completely confidential evaluation of your case.