How Long After Car Accident Can You Claim Injury?

When it comes to filing a lawsuit, there are legal deadlines by which a person needs to file their claim. These deadlines are determined not only by each state but are different for every type of claim. The reason why these deadlines exist is to prevent someone from coming forward years later claiming that they were injured by a defendant and are seeking money as compensation even though the evidence may have deteriorated, memories may have faded, or the injury was due to some other incident.

Some claims can be filed at any time, regardless of how much time has passed since the incident. An example would be murder, in which a person can be tried and convicted at any time. But when it comes to a car accident and the resulting injuries, if a person comes forward six years later, for example, and says that a chronic condition that they are suffering from is due to an accident that they were in, then there’s no way to really know if their condition truly was the fault of the accident or another event that occurred between the accident and present day.

This legal concept is called the statute of limitations.

The Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Cases

The statute of limitations is the time limit a person has to bring forward a car accident claim. After the statute of limitations has passed, the court will not hear any arguments, regardless of how compelling the evidence is. Every state sets its own statute of limitations for personal injury claims. In the state of California, a person has two years after an accident to file a claim.

Contact An Attorney Long Before The Statute of Limitations Is Up

The law firm website warns their clients that just because they have two years does not mean that they should wait that long to speak to a car accident attorney. Filing a claim does not happen overnight, and if you seek out an attorney too close to the deadline, then you risk the statute of limitations passing while waiting to get your court date.

Another reason why you should seek out an attorney right away is that the sooner you file your claim, the stronger it is. As mentioned earlier, you will have to prove that your injuries were caused by the accident and not by another incident that occurred between the accident and the time that you filed your claim. For this reason, many auto insurance companies require that an accident be reported to them within 24-72 hours after it happened and that personal injury claims are filed within 14 days of the accident. This is the best course of action to follow since it will be hard for the insurance company to argue that your injuries were due to another accident that occurred within the two weeks since the car accident.

Contact A Personal Injury Lawyer

Hiring a personal injury attorney is a smart move. Most personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation to new clients to discuss their cases. You should bring a copy of the police report, photos or videos taken at the scene of the accident, medical records, and any other evidence you have to your initial meeting.