Statute of Limitations for Wisconsin Personal Injury Cases Explained

On behalf of Peterson, Berk & Cross, S.C.

The importance of understanding Wisconsin’s Statute of Limitations for personal injury can be compared to the importance of getting medical help when you’ve suffered a serious injury. If you are in intense pain, would you hesitate to get help? No! In some ways, not understanding the time to file a lawsuit in Wisconsin can cause a different kind of pain and suffering. Time is truly of the essence. But how much time do you actually have, and WHY is it so important?

The Statute of Limitations 

The statute of limitations in Wisconsin for personal injury claims is three years from the date of the accident or injury. This means that if you were injured on January 1st, 2022, you have until January 1st, 2025 to file a lawsuit. You may be thinking: “Three years! I have plenty of time!” And that is understandable, as there is a reason why this much time is allowed to pass. But this is not the situation where “slow and steady wins the race.” Here is a chart outlining the specific time limits for different injuries:

Type of ClaimTime to Bring a LawsuitStatute
General Personal Injury3 YearsWis. Stat. § 893.54(1m)
Car Accidents Resulting in Death2 YearsWis. Stat. § 893.54(2m)
Medical Malpractice3 Years (Or 1 Year After Discovery)Wis. Stat. § 893.55(1m)
Intentional Injuries3 YearsWis. Stat. § 893.57
Wrongful Death3 YearsWis. Stat.§ 893.54(1m)(b)

After this deadline passes, you will likely be barred from seeking any compensation for your injuries. What if you don’t file in time?! Is it over for you? Not necessarily! This rule has some exceptions, and it changes in certain circumstances. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney can help you navigate these complex laws, be aware of deadlines, and ultimately tell you how much your case is worth

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations in Wisconsin

Having set exceptions to the statute of limitations is very helpful. There are some circumstances where it just isn’t possible to file a claim in the allotted time. In Wisconsin, there are four main allowances: 

  • If you are injured under the age of 18, you have two years after you turn 18 to file a claim. 
  • In cases where someone dies due to their injuries, their family members have two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim.
  • The time to bring a lawsuit is shorter if you plan to take legal action against a government entity.

In some situations involving medical malpractice or toxic exposure cases where symptoms may become apparent later, Wisconsin also has a “discovery rule.” This means that instead of starting from the date of injury or accident, the statute of limitations begins when the victim could have reasonably discovered the injury or illness.

The Importance of Acting Promptly 

As mentioned earlier, this is not a “slow and steady wins the race” situation! In fact, the sooner you act, we can safely say the better equipped we will be for your case. When it comes to your lawsuit, it’s better to be the hare than the tortoise. Once you start the race strong, your attorney can take over to finish it! 

There are a few reasons for this. For one thing – evidence doesn’t last forever! As time passes, evidence related to an incident may become lost, destroyed, or altered. Also, if there’s an eyewitness to your injury, you would want to have them recall what they say. It’s no secret that memories fade over time, so the longer you wait, the fuzzier the details become. Acting fast will help you meet insurance company deadlines and give yourself enough time to negotiate or go through a court trial.

Your Wisconsin Personal injury Attorney Can Help

Your Wisconsin personal injury attorney is your best ally when it comes to navigating the complicated world of personal injury claims. They are knowledgeable and experienced in handling these types of cases and can provide you with the necessary guidance and support throughout the entire process. They can: 

  • Assess the strength of your case by gathering evidence 
  • Handle all communication with insurance companies on your behalf
  • handle all legal proceedings on your behalf while ensuring that all deadlines are met and paperwork is filed correctly.
  • Greatly include your chances of receiving fair compensation

Don’t hesitate to reach out to a personal injury attorney if you have been injured in an accident in Wisconsin. Just contact us online to schedule a consultation. We proudly serve clients all over Wisconsin.