How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim?
If you have been injured as a result of another party’s negligence or recklessness, state law allows you to pursue a personal injury claim or lawsuit against that party in order to recoup the financial and other losses you have suffered because of those injuries. It is critical to contact a personal injury lawyer in order to determine what the time limit is to file that claim. This is legally referred to as the statute of limitations. Each state has its own laws regarding that time limit.
Statute of Limitation Clock
In general, there is usually a two to three statute of limitations for filing your claim. The clock begins counting down from the day you were injured. There are cases where the clock begins counting down from the day of diagnosis. When the victim is a minor child, then the clock does not begin counting down until they turn 18 years of age.
There is usually a different rule when the at-fault party is a government entity. In these cases, victims are often required to notify the entity within six months from the date of the incident, before they even file their claim.
Because of the different rules, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer to determine what the statute of limitation is in your situation. Once that time has passed, you lose your right to pursue damages and get the compensation you deserve.
Time Frame of a Personal Injury Claim
There is really no way to predict how long a personal injury lawsuit will take to resolve since every case is different. In many cases, the two parties are able to negotiate a settlement amount and avoid the need to litigate the case in court. In cases that do not settle, and a civil trial becomes necessary, the length of time to resolve is now dependent on how quickly or slowly that particular court schedules and resolves trials and how full their docket is.
One of the important factors that determine the time frame is how long it takes for the victim to recover from the injuries they have suffered. Your attorney will want to make sure you have fully recovered from those injuries or that your doctor has determined that you have reached your medical maximum recovery before settling your case. Otherwise, it could turn out that your injury losses are actually more than the amount you agree to for a settlement amount. For example, if you settle your case and then your doctor determines you need surgery, you would be responsible for the medical expenses for that surgery, not the at-fault party.