Whether you are a driver or a passenger who is involved in an auto accident, it is important that you contact your car insurance company as soon as possible following the accident. Immediately alerting your car insurance company to the fact that you were in a car collision will help you to file accident lawsuits within state time limits.
What’s the Statute of limitations?
The statute of limitations as it applies to personal injury claims is a law that determines the time when a lawsuit or legal remedy must be initiated or filed in a civil action.
The failure to commence the claim or to file the lawsuit in the appropriate court by a certain date often means that the claimant or plaintiff will not be able to sue a particular defendant or defendants for damages as a result of that parties’ negligent conduct.
Time Limits for a Personal Injury Suit
Each state has its own statute of limitations regarding how long you have to file a personal injury claim.
For example, Montana limits the amount of time you have to sue for personal injuries suffered during an auto accident to three years. Nebraska gives you up to four years to file suit to be reimbursed for personal injuries. You have up to two years to file a personal injury lawsuit in California.
If you file your claim after the statue of limitations has expired, you might forfeit your ability to sue another driver or his car insurance company. This could disallow you to be compensated for personal injury (and even property damages) that you suffered during the auto accident.
Filing a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired in the state where you file the claim could also impact your ability to be compensated for pain and suffering related to the car accident that you continue to experience years after the actual accident occurred. Because long term medical care can be expensive, filing a lawsuit early can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Going Beyond the Statute Of Limitations
Some states allow drivers to file a accident claims after the statute of limitations has expired if injuries they suffered during their auto accidents caused them to be physically unable to file a claim earlier. Should this apply to you, contact an attorney who is experienced handling auto accident personal injury cases.
Your personal injury attorney will likely request that the courts have the statute of limitations tolled. In states where the statute of limitations do not begin until you become aware of the injury, you can also work with an attorney to prove that you experienced no discomfort related to the injury until one to two years after the accident.
Of course, the best approach is to file the lawsuit as soon as possible following the actual auto accident. Doing so could save you additional attorney fees, time, and discomfort. You could also recoup wages that you lost due to the accident.