Automobile accidents are increasing in number in the United States every year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA, automobile accidents are the primary cause of death in those ages 2 to 34. These accidents are also the primary cause of personal injury in people of all ages. While some accidents are easy to resolve, those that end in serious injury may take longer to wrap up. The following is an overview of personal injury law and how long you have to initiate a claim after an accident. If you or someone you love has been hurt in an automobile accident, it may be beneficial to speak to a personal injury lawyer for advice.
How Long Do You Have To File A Claim?
Every state has a specific time period in which automobile accident victims can file a lawsuit in court. This time period is known as the statute of limitations and it varies from state-to-state. Some states have a 2 year statute of limitations, while others have 3. In all states, you have significantly less time when filing a claim against a government agency which can be as little as 6 months after the date of the accident. When filing a lawsuit for your injuries, you must be sure to file within the statute of limitations as failure to do so will most likely cause your case to be thrown out of court. Because the laws in personal injury cases can be complex, it is best to speak with a lawyer to be sure you file the case within the appropriate time frame.
Statutes Of Limitations State By State
The following provides the current statutes of limitations in all states in the U.S.:
1 Year From The Accident Date:
2 Years From The Date Of The Accident:
- New Jersey
- West Virginia
3 Years From The Accident Date
District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
4 Years From The Accident Date:
5 Years From The Date Of The Accident:
6 Years From The Accident Date:
- North Dakota
When Should You File A Talk To A Lawyer?
While not every automobile accident will qualify for a personal injury lawsuit, those that are serious may. You should consider speaking with a personal injury lawyer if:
- Your Injuries Are Severe
- You Are Disabled Due To The Accident
- The Insurance Company Refuses To Pay
- You Are Unable To Work
- You Will Require On Going Medical Care
What Can A Lawyer Do For You?
The legal process surrounding personal injury cases is complex and difficult to navigate. If you hire a lawyer, he may help you prove your case by:
- Hiring Accident Investigators
- Speaking With Medical Experts
- Obtaining Police Reports
- Negotiating A Settlement With The Insurance Company
- Interviewing Eyewitnesses
- Locating Potential Witnesses
- Filing Your Lawsuit In Court
- Attending All Hearings Related To Your Claim
- Fighting For Your Rights During A Trial
If you file a lawsuit, you will be the plaintiff in the case. Therefore, it will be your responsibility to prove the other driver was at fault and caused you to be hurt. Some things that may point to driver negligence include:
- Driving Under The Influence
- Texting Or Talking While Driving
- Aggressive Driving
- Failure To Yield The Right of Way
- Distracted Driving
If your accident was due to a manufacturer defect in your automobile, you may be able to file a lawsuit for compensation against the maker of the vehicle.
If you have been injured in an automobile accident and are considering filing a lawsuit, it is in your best interest to speak with an attorney before moving forward. While hiring an attorney cannot guarantee a favorable outcome, it can greatly reduce the stress and anxiety associated with your case.