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How Long Can You Wait to Get a Lawyer? All About Statutes of Limitations

Posted by M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola | Dec 20, 2018 | 0 Comments

When you believe you have legal claims, it is vital that you do not wait too long to present them in court due to statutory limitation periods. Unfortunately, some people wait too long only to have their legal claims dismissed or denied because of their delay in finding a lawyer or going to court.

What Are Statutory Limitation Periods?

In The Bahamas, the Limitation Act sets out legal rules that determine how long you have to file a claim in court. Most legal claims – such as contractual claims that are most commonly asserted in business disputes – expire after a certain time period has passed since the right to bring the claim arose. If you do not file a lawsuit within that time period, you are barred from asserting those legal claims in court.

Limitation periods apply to claims that you have against a certain person or company.  The period starts to run from the first date that you could have brought a claim, i.e., from the date of the act or breach you are suing for. You must always file your lawsuit within a certain amount of time after the act.

Sometimes, you may discover that you have legal claims long after you were wronged. Under the Limitation Act, the limitation period for certain claims may be extended if there was a good reason for the delayed discovery, such as concealment or fraud by the other party. However, this depends on the type of legal claim you have and your reasons for not filing a lawsuit earlier.

Do Statutes of Limitations Only Apply to Court Cases?

Limitation periods apply to any legally recognized claims that you have against someone. It does not matter whether you decide to file a lawsuit or not, the clock keeps ticking on your limitation period. This means that if you decide to take your case to mediation instead of filing a lawsuit right away, you need to be aware of the relevant limitation period. You may have to file a lawsuit right away to preserve your rights, even though you want to resolve the dispute out of court.

If you have any doubts about the amount of time that has passed since you learned of your legal claims, talk to a lawyer immediately. The lawyer can determine which claims you have and check the applicable limitation period.

To find out more about civil litigation, visit Gonsalves-Sabola Chambers online or call the office at +1 242 326 6400.

About the Author

M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola

M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola is a civil and commercial litigation attorney and an accredited civil and commercial mediator. Margaret has over 21 years' experience in legal practice in the United Kingdom, Jamaica and The Bahamas.


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