How soon should I file a lawsuit after an injury?
- February 23, 2016
If you have are involved in an accident and sustained an injury because of the other party’s negligence, you may not know the full extent of your injuries until several weeks have gone by. If you plan to file a lawsuit after being injured, you may be overwhelmed by your injury and simply trying to heal. However, you should not wait too long before filing your claim. Each state has a unique statute of limitations when it comes to personal injury, and most are about two or three years. Although this may sound like plenty of time, personal injury cases can be quite lengthy. If you wait to file your lawsuit, you could end up missing any compensation from the guilty party. So, when should you file? These factors can help you determine your timeline.
You’re Already Treating Injuries
If your injuries are in the process of being treated by medical professionals, you should get the process of filing your lawsuit started right away. You do not you have to accept a settlement and resolve your case, as you won’t know the seriousness of your injury until some time has passed. Getting the claims process started at this point, however, is a good idea at this point. Public entities must be notified of your intention of filing suit right away, whether you decide to go through with the lawsuit or not.
If a Public or Government Entity was Involved
If a public entity was the perpetrator of your injury, you have much less time to file your claim. If your car was hit by a municipal bus or was the result of a safety issue in a government-owned building, for example, you may have as little as one month to file your lawsuit. Lawsuits filed against government entities will be strictly governed by the rules of your state. With this type of lawsuit, it is strongly recommended that you seek the assistance of an attorney who can assure you collect the pertinent information and file in the allotted time.
If the Statute Is About to Expire
If you are nearing the statute of limitations, and are not sure if you want to go through with the lawsuit, now is your last chance to speak to an attorney and see if you should go forward. If you decide to wait, you could lose all rights to ever filing a lawsuit for your injuries. There are exceptions to the statue, however. If a minor was involved, and was also injured, the parent or custodian can still file a claim on the child’s behalf. If the parent does not file the claim, the child then has until he turns 18 on top of the statutory time limit to file.
Regardless of whether you plan to file or not, it is always a good idea to collect evidence of the accident after it occurs, including photos. You should also be sure to get the contact information of any witnesses to the accident and clarify a timeline of the accident and subsequent injury to ensure you have a good understanding of what happened. Keep a file of your medical bills and other expenses, such as missed work, related to the accident.
Don’t wait to find out what you need to do to ensure you have a case should you decide to go through with it. As soon as you have cared for your immediate injuries following an accident, you should consult a trusted legal professional. A professional can help you jump through the hoops to get your lawsuit filed and can, at the very least, provide you with the statute of limitations that pertains to your specific case. When it comes to personal injury, the statute of limitations can vary widely, and knowing how long you have to file can be half the battle.