The Discovery Rule

Definition - What does The Discovery Rule mean?

The discovery rule states that statutes of limitations periods do not begin for injuries until the person discovers his or her injury. This is a relevant rule in personal injury cases where an injury can take a long time to manifest and be linked to a specific cause. So, even if an amount of time has passed which would ordinarily cancel any claims due to a statute of limitations, that would not be the case under the discovery rule. Under the discovery rule, the statute of limitations period only begins when the injury is discovered.

Justipedia explains The Discovery Rule

Certain injuries can take a long time to manifest. For example, imagine that a company allowed asbestos insulation to be exposed in its offices. If, 20 years down the line, some of the people who worked in the offices developed mesothelioma, the statute of limitations for any claims against the company would begin at the discovery of the injury, not at the time the asbestos poisoning occurred. In other words, the company wouldn't be able to prevent a lawsuit just because the injuries happened two decades in the past.

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