If you've been involved in an accident, you only have so long to make your claim. There are both legal and practical requirements that could limit your ability to recover if you wait too long. Keep all of these deadlines in mind when deciding when to make your claim.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is a law that limits how long you have to bring any type of lawsuit. This includes personal injury lawsuits. The statute of limitations is usually a period of several years that varies both by state as well as by the specific type of lawsuit. The purpose of the law is to keep people from having to worry about getting sued for things that happened long ago that they've since forgotten and have no way of finding evidence to use in their defense.
If you don't start your lawsuit by the time the statute of limitations runs out, you almost always lose your right to bring your lawsuit. Getting an exception is very difficult and requires a very compelling reason. For example, you might be able to get the statute of limitations waived if you were in a long-term coma.
Lawyer Preparation Time
The statute of limitations is for when you have to go to court, not when you have to go to a lawyer. You can't walk into a lawyer's office on the day before the statute of limitations expires and expect to get your lawsuit filed on time. It takes weeks or months to properly prepare your case to file in court. Even if your lawyer is able to rush it in at the last minute, that could lead to mistakes that limit what you're able to recover or even result in your case being dismissed.
You don't want to wait for the statute of limitations to expire in most cases, both because you want to be paid sooner and because evidence may expire. For example, your accident may have happened in front of a video surveillance camera that only saves videos for 30 days unless someone pulls the recording. If you don't start your claim right away, you may not get the video in time. Even when there's no hard deadline, time can work against you in other ways such as a witness no longer being able to remember what happened months or years ago.
To learn more about how long you have to bring in a claim, contact a local personal injury lawyer today.Share