Limitation Periods: What You Need To Know
How long do I have to sue?
There are many rules and procedures governing lawsuits in the Cayman Islands. One of the most important ones to take note of are limitation periods, when determining your rights and choosing whether to commence a lawsuit.
In the Cayman Islands, most limitation periods are prescribed by statute, namely, the Limitation Act (1996 Revision). If a lawsuit is started after the limitation period has expired, the Court will dismiss the lawsuit and you will not be able to recover.
As such, it is important to understand the limitation period that may apply to your claim and to be aware of precisely when the clock starts ticking on the limitation period specific to your claim. While this article gives you an overview of limitation periods in the Cayman Islands, you should always seek legal advice if you believe you may have a claim against someone, to go over the timelines that would apply to your situation.
The Basic Limitation Period
The Limitation Act provides that court proceedings must be initiated within a certain period of time. Examples are as follows:
A tort claim is a claim for damages by the victim of a wrongful act which results in physical, emotional, psychological or financial injury or harm, against another person who can be held legally responsible for the injury caused. Tort claims have a limitation period of six years from the date the damage occurred.
A contract is an oral or written agreement made by two parties. A breach of contract occurs when one party ignores one or more terms in the agreement. It is advisable for everyone to always have a contract in writing, with the date and the signatures of the two parties, for any type of agreement or promise. Otherwise, the other party may deny the terms so as not to have to adhere to the contract. Examples of breaches of contract include the purchase of defective goods, retention of professional services, or disputes over construction or other business ventures. An action founded on simple contract has a limitation period of six years from the date on which the cause of action accrued.
A personal injury action in most instances must be commenced within three years from the date on which the injury occurred. There are, however, exceptions to this.
If you think that you may have suffered an injury, loss or damage as a result of the acts or omissions of someone else, it is important that you understand your legal rights. This includes understanding the time limits that are imposed on your right to bring legal proceedings.
Generally speaking, you can expect to have no more than three years to start a lawsuit after you discover that you have suffered an injury, loss or damage but this is not always the case. In addition, if you wait until a limitation period is about to expire before seeking to issue proceedings you may face issues which prevent you from successfully being able to advance your case.
To ensure that your rights are preserved, you should speak with an attorney as soon as you suffer an injury, loss or damage to obtain advice on your rights, and so that you can know the limitation period that will apply.