How soon after my accident must I bring a case?
- March 29, 2017
If you have been that involved in a car accident, bike accident or any other type of collision, you’ll usually need to bring your case within one to two years. The time that you have to bring your case and sue for damages is called the statute of limitations, and this time period will depend on the state laws where you plan to file the case. For most states, the statutes of limitations for personal injury accidents are from one to two years. In California, the statute of limitations is two years.
Why bringing your case as early as possible is so important
Many people who have been involved in a serious accident assume that they have loads of time to bring a case if they decide to, but this is actually an imprudent and all-too-common mistake. That’s because time flies quickly, and being involved in a car accident, bike accident or any other type of collision is an extremely traumatic experience for anyone; you’ll have numerous matters to attend to after the accident, which may cause you to miss the statute of limitations and be ineligible for the damages that you deserve.
As examples, after your accident, you’ll be forced to decide how to proceed with your medical injuries, how to fix your car or bike if applicable, how to get around without a means of transportation and how to handle your absence from work. If you add pain and suffering to all of that, you’ll have a terribly stressful situation on your hands and numerous expenses that may very well put you into immediate debt.
For this reason, you’ll need to push yourself to consider whether or not you want to bring a case as soon as you can after your accident. Furthermore, if you do decide to bring a case, you should act upon this decision immediately. Meeting with an attorney to discuss your case, gathering and preparing the evidence and bringing the case to court officially will take time, and you’d be surprised who quickly two years can pass, especially when you’re dealing with severe medical problems and loss of work.
Understanding the exact dates for statutes of limitations
Because the statutes of limitations surrounding personal injury cases are so clearly defined, it makes perfect sense that the exact date that a statute of limitations begins is equally important. In California, because the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years, it’s important to know the exact date of the start of the statute so that you can precisely understand how long you have to file.
For most car accidents, bike accidents or related pedestrian accidents in California, the start date of statute of limitations is the actual date that the accident occurred. This date is also known as the date of harm. In some cases, however, the start date of the statute of limitations may be altered to the date of the discovery of harm. For example, this might happen if you didn’t discover that mental trauma had occurred from a car accident until weeks after the actual accident date.
Contacting an Attorney
If you have recently been involved in a collision or accident as a driver, bike rider or pedestrian, talk to an attorney as soon as possible. Naturally, your health and safety should come first, however. Therefore, immediately following the actual accident, you should ensure your well-being right away, and if necessary, call emergency services as soon as possible to get help. The same goes for serious injuries that may have occurred to others in your vehicle or anyone else at the scene.
But as soon as your safety and well-being have been established, it’s important that you contact an experienced and respected attorney in your area to start preparing and filing your case. Your attorney will be able to help you prepare your case from the get-go. They will be there to help you navigate the often-difficult-to-understand legal system and to protect you from unfair settlements that insurance companies may try to appeal you with. Contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Don’t wait until it’s too late to bring your case.