Importance of the Statute of Limitations in Personal Injury Cases

The Importance of the Statute of Limitations in Personal Injury Cases

Overview of Stewart-Mackey v. Corcym, Inc

In 2023, Stacey Stewart-Mackey filed a personal injury case against Corcym, Inc., alleging that their faulty medical device caused the untimely death of Rachel Sweet. However, the case was dismissed due to the Massachusetts three-year statute of limitations. The plaintiff was aware of the alleged injury back in 2015 when it was determined that the Valve needed to be replaced with a larger valve.

The Statute of Limitations and Personal Injury Cases

The statute of limitations is a crucial aspect of personal injury cases. It is a legal time limit that dictates how long a plaintiff has to file a claim after sustaining an injury. In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is three years from the date of the injury or the date of discovery of the injury.

When Does the Clock Start?

In most cases, the clock starts ticking from the date the injury occurred. However, in cases where the injury is not immediately apparent, the clock starts from the date of discovery. In the Stewart-Mackey case, even though the death occurred in 2020, the clock started in 2015 when Rachel Sweet started experiencing complications with the Valve.

Importance of Complying with Statute of Limitations

It is imperative to comply with the statute of limitations because failing to do so can result in the case being dismissed by the court. This can be devastating for the plaintiff, who will lose the opportunity to seek compensation for their injuries.

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

There are certain exceptions to the statute of limitations, such as the discovery rule, tolling due to a minor or mental incapacity, and fraudulent concealment by the defendant. However, these exceptions are narrowly construed, and it is challenging to meet the high threshold required to overcome the statute of limitations.

The Role of Lawyers in Personal Injury Cases

Lawyers play a crucial role in personal injury cases, especially when it comes to complying with the statute of limitations. They must be aware of the specific deadlines and the exceptions to the statute of limitations to ensure that their clients’ cases are not dismissed due to missed deadlines.

Responsibilities of Lawyers

In addition to complying with the statute of limitations, lawyers are responsible for gathering evidence, filing legal documents, negotiating with insurance companies, and representing clients in court. They must also provide their clients with sound legal advice, communicate with them about the progress of their case, and answer any questions they may have.


Personal injury cases require careful attention to detail, especially when it comes to complying with the statute of limitations. Failure to comply with the statute of limitations can result in the case being dismissed, which can have serious consequences for the plaintiff. It is essential to work with experienced lawyers who can provide the guidance and representation needed to navigate the legal process successfully.

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