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Is There a Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases?: If you have been injured in an accident through no fault of your own and are considering filing a claim against the party responsible for your injuries, you should know that every state has a statute of limitations when it comes to personal injury cases.
Jonesboro Personal Injury Lawyer T. Madden explains that these statutes determine the maximum time you can legally wait between the day you were injured and the day you file your claim with the appropriate court.
No matter how much evidence you have to support your case or how clear it is that the other party is at fault, if you allow this time to expire, you will not be allowed to file the claim and get the compensation you deserve.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
Since the time limit marked by the statute of limitations varies by state, it is recommended that you talk to a personal injury attorney in the state where you live or check the official website of your state’s government to verify this information.
If you live in one state and the accident took place in another, you should consult a personal injury lawyer to get clarity as to which state’s statute of limitations applies to your lawsuit.
In general, it is in states such as Louisiana or Kentucky where you would find that you only have one year from the day of your accident to file your claim.
Most other states allow either 2 or 3 years between the day the incident took place and the initial filing date of your claim.
On the other extreme is the state of Oregon where you have up to 10 years before the statute of limitations expires.
Are There Any Exceptions?
Even though cases that take too long to reach the court will be dismissed immediately, there are some exceptions to this rule.
Exceptions include cases in which the victim was not aware that they had been injured or they were unaware that their case qualified for a personal injury claim.
In a case where you were exposed to a toxic substance without you being aware of it and it is only years later that you discover this fact because you received a medical diagnosis at that time, you may be able to extend the statute of limitations for your case.
Also, if the victim was a minor when they sustained their injuries, they may be allowed to file once they reach adulthood.
Another exception happens when the defendant leaves the state where the accident occurred. However, any exceptions are better left in the hands of legal experts.
Is There Anything I Can Do to Avoid Losing My Right to File a Claim?
Your best bet is to do everything possible to file within the timeframe imposed by the statute of limitations.
Although 2 years may seem like plenty of time, your attorney will need that time to conduct an investigation into the accident and gather all available evidence.
The first thing you need to do is to seek medical attention as soon as possible after the accident. You want to have a medical professional diagnose any injuries, even some you may not be aware of, and establish a direct relationship between the accident and your injuries in your medical records.
Follow all instructions from your doctor and do everything in your power to recover your health not only because your health should always be your priority but also because you send the right message to the other party and to the insurance company that you care about your well-being.
While at the accident scene, document it by taking pictures of the cars and their damage. If it was a slip and fall, take pictures of anything that may have contributed to your slipping and injuring yourself.
Exchange all pertinent information with the other party, including their insurance policy and driver’s license as well as the car’s make, model, and year. If there are any witnesses, record their testimonies with your phone and get their contact information.
The more evidence you are able to provide your lawyer the stronger a case that they can build for your defense.
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