What is the Car Accident Statute of Limitations in Wyoming?

Question

What is the Car Accident Statute of Limitations in Wyoming?

Answer

First, let’s take a step back and explain that a “statute of limitations” is a state law that puts a strict time limit on your right to go to court and ask for a remedy after suffering some type of harm -- that means filing a civil lawsuit. These deadlines vary depending on what kind of case you want to file.

In Wyoming, as in the majority of states, the statute of limitations that applies to a car accident lawsuit will almost always be the same one that applies to most personal injury cases. Specifically, Wyoming Statutes Annotated section 1-3-105 gives you four years to ask the state courts for a civil remedy for any personal injury, or for any damage to your personal property, when someone else might be at fault.

In the context of a car accident, that means if anyone was hurt in the crash -- whether a driver, passenger, motorcycle rider, bicyclist, or pedestrian -- or had their vehicle or other personal property damaged, they must get their lawsuit filed against any potential defendant within four years, and the clock starts running on the date of the accident.

A two-year lawsuit filing deadline applies if the car accident caused someone’s death, and the family or a representative wants to bring a wrongful death claim. That deadline is set by Wyoming Statutes Annotated section 1-38-102. And for these cases, the two-year “clock” starts running on the day of the accident victim’s death, which could be later than the date of the accident itself.

Whether it’s an injury lawsuit or a wrongful death claim, the case will almost certainly hinge on whether someone’s negligence was the underlying cause of the crash. Learn more about Proving Fault for a Car Accident.

It’s crucial to understand and abide by the statute of limitations as it applies to your situation. That’s because if you try to file your lawsuit after the statute of limitations deadline has already passed, the defendant is sure to ask the court to dismiss the case, and the court is very likely to agree that a dismissal is appropriate.

Finally, from a strategic standpoint, it’s always a good idea to leave plenty of time to file a lawsuit. At the very least, keeping all your options on the table will give you more leverage during car accident settlement talks. So if the deadline is approaching, you may want to talk with an experienced Wyoming car accident attorney.

by: David Goguen, J.D.

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