Personal Injury Lawyer

If someone else is responsible for a car accident you were in, that individual may owe you compensation for a variety of damages. Your lawyer can help you determine which damages to seek, and that may include pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and a host of others. Once you make up your mind to file a lawsuit, how long do you have to do so? What happens if you miss the deadline? Are there any exceptions? The following should help you understand some of the answers to your most important questions.

Length of Time to File

Every state has a deadline called the statute of limitations. This is a length of time for which an individual has to file a lawsuit, starting from the time the accident occurred. Each state’s statute is different, though most range somewhere from two to four years. It’s possible, however, that your state only allows one year, or that your particular situation allows for an extension. This is why it’s important you speak with a lawyer who can assist you in getting the lawsuit filed within the right time frame.

Missing the Deadline

If you are unable to file your lawsuit within the time the statute of limitations gives, you typically forfeit your right to compensation. Many courts will deny your case if you try to file anyway. There are some exceptions, so it’s important to understand those as well.

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

Sometimes a judge will extend the time limit someone has to file a lawsuit, and it largely depends on the situation surrounding the car accident. For example:

  • For a Minor – If the person injured in the car accident was a minor at the time of injury, he or she would typically be allowed the same time for the statute in his or her state, but it would begin at the time he or she turned 18 years old.
  • For Someone in a Coma – If someone is unconscious following the car accident, he or she would not have the knowledge there were injuries sustained. The statute of limitations would generally begin when the individual woke up from a coma and could comprehend what happened.
  • For a Later Discovery – After some accidents, some victims don’t know they have injuries. They may have gone to see a doctor, and that medical professional could have determined there were none. Years later, when the victim starts experiencing health problems, the healthcare provider may determine the health issues were the result of the accident. The statute would begin at the time those health issues were discovered.

Contacting an Attorney

After your car accident, you should have the assistance of an attorney. Contact your personal injury attorney today to learn what you can do to further your case along in the right amount of time.