Car Accident Claim Filing Timeline
It is natural to avoid reliving a trauma, but when it comes to car accident claims, avoidance can result in regret. Victims of collisions only have a limited window to file a claim, typically two years. If you fail to file within that window, you can no longer go after the at-fault driver for compensation. Without compensation for your injuries, you are forced to cover the expenses for property damage, health care, and rehabilitation. Depending on the severity of your injuries, it is also possible you suffered some professional losses as well.
Statute of Limitations
The two-year timeline is a general rule, but you will need to check with your state to determine the specific window for filing a lawsuit in a car accident claim. While most states place a statute of limitations at two years, others will provide less or more time, depending.
When To File
While it is tempting to wait for your injuries to entirely heal or until you feel psychologically ready to face the at-fault party, it is better to file your case as soon as possible. Most attorneys will recommend clients file a claim the moment they know they want to sue.
Despite the hesitancy about waiting for medical advice and healing, you can sue before you have a complete medical record. Most people will file when they are still in recovery. The main reason to wait is if your injuries are unknown or will result in occupational changes. When an injury creates a permanent disability, it is worth waiting for a full diagnosis, ensuring the damages you file are accurate and account for all potential losses.
Exceptions to the Two Year Rule
Sometimes, age will play a role in the timeline you have to file. Most statutes go into effect after the age of 18, meaning a 15-year-old will have more time to file a car accident claim than an adult; five years: three to reach 18 and two from the date of their 18th birthday.
Additionally, special exceptions can be made for people who were incapacitated as a result of the car accident. Sometimes a judge will allow more time for the victim to wake up, and other times, he or she might allow a family member to step in on behalf of the victim.
If you were in a car accident, contact a local attorney to discuss your case. A lawyer, such as an auto accident lawyer from Unidos Legales, can help you determine the next steps in your filing process.