If you were in an accident that gave you a significant injury or took the life of a loved one, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the party that caused your accident in Nebraska. A lawsuit could give you the peace of mind, justice and closure you need to finally move forward. It could also provide your family with the financial ability to pay off your medical bills, property repairs and other damages related to the accident. If you have grounds for a lawsuit, however, you must act quickly to file your claim before the deadline. Otherwise, an expired statute of limitations could bar you from recovery.
What Are Statutes of Limitations?
Statutes of limitations are laws that place deadlines on when plaintiffs can file claims. All states have statutes of limitations for civil and criminal cases. The point of a statute of limitations is to keep the justice system as fair and efficient as possible for everyone. Without a law imposing a deadline to file, claimants could potentially take as long as they wanted to come forward with their claims. This could lead to problems such as lost evidence and unreliable eyewitness accounts due to so much time passing. The courts also deemed it unjust to hold the possibility of a lawsuit over a defendant’s head indefinitely. Statutes of limitations are the solution for encouraging prompt claims filing.
What Is the Time Limit in Nebraska?
Statutes of limitations are different depending on the state where you are filing the claim. Every claimant in Nebraska has a responsibility to know his or her deadline for filing. You can discover your exact deadline to file by talking to a personal injury lawyer in Omaha. In the meantime, learning the general statutes of limitations for different types of lawsuits in Nebraska could give you an idea of how long you can wait to file.
- Breach of written contract: 5 years
- Breach of oral contract: 4 years
- Personal injury: 4 years
- Product liability: 4 years
- Property damage: 4 years
- Fraud: 4 years
- Medical and legal malpractice: 2 years
- Wrongful death: 2 years
- Assault and battery: 1 year
- Slander or libel: 1 year
Nebraska’s statutes of limitations have some exceptions, although they are rare. In most cases, the countdown begins on the date of the incident. You might qualify for a deadline extension, however, if you did not discover your injuries or damages until a date after that of the accident. In these cases, the clock typically starts ticking on the date of injury discovery rather than the date of accrual of the damages. Other exceptions exist for injured minors, as well as for cases involving criminal activities. Contact a lawyer to learn your specific statute of limitations.
Why You Should File as Soon as Possible
The courts in Nebraska are not lenient with the state’s statutes of limitations. Generally, if you try to file a lawsuit after the expiration of your statute of limitations, the courts will refuse to hear your case. You will lose any eligibility you might have had to compensation from the defendant for missing your deadline. Even if the courts agree to pass your case onto the next stage, the defendant will most likely bring up the expired statute of limitations in a motion to dismiss your case. Protect your right to file a lawsuit by never waiting to take legal action.
Regardless of how long you have to file under the statute of limitations, initiate a lawsuit as quickly as you can after a personal injury or property damage. In general, a plaintiff will not benefit from waiting to file. In fact, waiting could hurt your chances of winning the case through the loss or destruction of key evidence. Your eyewitnesses might not remember exactly what they saw, for example, or a company might have erased its records. Prompt legal action can ensure you meet your deadline and enable you to bring a stronger case against the defendant.
Food poisoning is no small matter. It could cause extreme illnesses and long-lasting health problems. Eating contaminated or toxic food could lead to symptoms that range from uncomfortable to deadly. Young children and the elderly are especially in danger if they contract food poisoning. Someone with a weakened immune system may not survive a serious food-related illness. In Nebraska, it may be possible to file a lawsuit against a party for food poisoning with the help of an Omaha product liability attorney.
Food Poisoning and Premises Liability
Food poisoning cases often fall under the umbrella of premises liability. It is a property owner’s responsibility to protect guests and visitors from unreasonable risks of harm. This includes risks of food poisoning if the property offers food items for free or for purchase. The owner of a restaurant, deli, grocery store, bar, cruise ship, amusement park or another enterprise that offers food must take precautions to ensure the safety and quality of the food. Any act of negligence that contributes to food poisoning could make the property owner liable for damages.
- Failing to comply with food safety standards
- Failing to properly store, refrigerate or cook foods
- Using rotten or spoiled foods
- Serving contaminated or undercooked foods
- Hiring incompetent food preparers
- Keeping an unsanitary kitchen or premises
Proving a liability lawsuit for food poisoning will require the victim’s attorney to establish the defendant committed a negligent act and that this act led to the victim consuming food that made him or her sick. Proving a food poisoning suit can be difficult since the victim’s attorney must show a connection between the food eaten and the illness contracted. If multiple people who ate at the same establishment have similar complaints, this could strengthen a claim against the owner.
Product Liability Lawsuits for Contaminated Food
Other food poisoning lawsuits hold food item manufacturers or distributors responsible for damages. Anyone who manufactures food products in the U.S. must comply with federal safety and quality standards. Failure to do so could result in contaminated or unsafe foods distributed to the masses. Most product liability lawsuits in Nebraska use the legal doctrine of strict product liability. The courts will hold a manufacturer strictly liable for damages if one of three food defects is present.
- Design defects: A design defect could make a food item spoil before it reaches consumers. Designing a package that is not airtight, for example, could cause food to rot or absorb contaminants in transit.
- Manufacturing mistakes: A manufacturing error could make an otherwise safe food item dangerous for consumption due to issues on the assembly line. An example is a batch of hamburger meat that raw chicken accidentally contaminates.
- Inadequate marketing: Marketing mistakes could also cause food poisoning. Failing to warn consumers to refrigerate an item that may spoil, for example, could cause serious illnesses.
If you ate a contaminated food item, the product manufacturer could be to blame. If the victim or his or her lawyer can prove the food item contained one of these defects, and that the item caused food poisoning, the victim could recover compensation without establishing the defendant’s negligence. Some defective food items make it on the national recall list, but others may not yet have enough consumer complaints.
When to Call a Product Liability Lawyer
You may have grounds for a food poisoning lawsuit if you suffered serious harm such as a major illness, missed time from work, pain and suffering, expensive hospital bills, or the loss of a loved one. An attorney may be able to establish a causal connection between your case of E. coli, listeria, salmonella or another illness and the defendant’s negligence. Otherwise, your lawyer may be able to bring a claim based on strict negligence. Hire a product liability attorney to help you establish that someone else negligently or intentionally caused your food poisoning in Omaha.