In Delaware, I was assaulted in late-June of 2013. The defendant signed a notarized contract to pay for injuries. When does it expire?

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In Delaware, I was assaulted in late-June of 2013. The defendant signed a notarized contract to pay for injuries. When does it expire?

Without provocation, an intoxicated person attacked me and broke my nose. I pressed charges and had a closed reduction so that I could breathe properly. He insisted I drop the charges and, in turn, he would be willing to sign a written contract to compensate for damages. It has been three years since he has sent payments. I now live in Oregon. He still lives in Delaware and has mocked me saying I have zero recourse. From what research I have done, I fear he is correct. I fear that I have no option to relieve this hospital debt except to pay for it myself and allow him to go free from responsibility. Can I sue? Is that my only way of enforcing the agreement?

Asked on June 20, 2016 under Personal Injury, Delaware

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, the only way to recover compensation or enforce the agreement is by suing him: you would sue for breach of contract (breach of the agreement) and could potentially also sue him for having injured you in the first place (suing for the personal injury). However, you may be out of time to sue: in the state you list in your question, Delaware, you only have 2 years to sue for personal injury, and only 3 years to sue for breach of contract, which means that in DE, you'd be out of time to sue for personal injury and just about out of time to sue for breach of contract.
You don't indicate whether DE is your current state or the state where the attack happened and the contract was entered into: that could affect what statute of limitations (or time limit to sue) to apply, since every state has it's own statutory periods, and you'd most likely have to apply the statute of the state where the injury occured. However, it's not definite what state's statute to apply: determination of whose law applies is a very complex question, which varies with the exact facts. You are strongly advised to consult with an attorney IMMEDIATELY, to where to sue, under whose law, if you are still in time to sue, and what the of suing (and likelihood of success) are, so you can decide what to do. Don't wait: the more time that passes, the greater the chance that you will simply be out of time.


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