Out of the Mouths of Paralegals

Statutes of Limitations and finding the ‘happy medium


So often we meet new clients who fall into one of two very specific groups: people who procrastinate and people who panic.

When faced with a legal problem, the procrastinators tend to wait until the very last-minute (or beyond) to deal with the issue, to seek the assistance of an attorney, or to respond within a deadline.  Many times this poses a problem for the attorney, who could have had more options to mitigate the issue for the client if they had only brought it to the attorney sooner.  When served with a lawsuit, a response must be made within the stated deadline (typically 20 days in civil law), so addressing the issue quickly is very important.

On the other end of the spectrum is the ‘panic’ camp; as soon as they become aware that there is a problem or even that there might be a problem, they become very upset, contact an attorney, and insist that it be resolved immediately, often by filing a lawsuit without pursuing other (often much less costly) options to resolve a dispute.  An attorney can help find those options, help negotiate or mediate a resolution, and if one cannot be reached, can file suit in a timely way.

There is a Statute of Limitations (deadline to pursue claims) detailed in the statutes for every different type of claim (contracts, personal injury, for example).  It is important to seek legal representation in a timely way if you have a claim to pursue or defend, so that your attorney can have adequate time to do the best possible job representing you.  On the other hand, it is important to give adequate time when faced with a potential legal dispute to allow emotions to settle down and to take the opportunity to find a logical, agreeable solution to a dispute short of litigation.  Somewhere in there is the ‘happy medium.’  Our attorneys can help you find it.


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