If you want to make a claim against another person or entity, you must get it properly started within applicable deadlines or it will be forever barred.
The deadlines are often referred to as statutes of limitations. Other times, the deadline may be a statute of repose. In other instances, particularly if your claim is against a government agency, the deadline will be a written notice that has to be given with a certain period of time – often a much shorter period of time than applies to non-government individuals or entities.
The deadlines vary significantly depending upon the claim. In South Dakota, for example, the statute of limitations for making a personal injury claim arising out of a car accident is three years. For breach of contract claims, the statute of limitations is six years.
There may be exceptions to the deadlines – the statute of limitations – that apply such as when an individual who wants to bring a claim is a minor or is disabled. Statutes of limitations vary from state to state; they are usually determined by the state legislature. Different levels of government – federal, state, and local – often have their own unique deadlines.
It’s inappropriate in this setting to give definitive advice on what statute of limitations or other deadline applies to a particular case. Making that determination is important and depends upon the circumstance of each case.
For our purposes here, the point is there are deadlines that have to be met and you should find out very early on what they are. If you miss the deadline, your claim will fail regardless of its merit.