Car Accident Lawsuit
After being in a car accident, you can’t just sit around for years on end deciding whether you want to sue the at-fault driver. There is a timeline you must follow, and it varies from state to state. If you were injured in a car accident, contacting your lawyer to learn about your timeline options is probably the best course of action to take. The following should get you started.
Knowing Your Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations varies by state. For example, Arizona allows two years following your accident to file both personal injury and property damage claims. Illinois, on the other hand, allows two years for personal injury and five years for property damage. Some states’ statute of limitations is as little as one year, and others reach even ten years from the time of the accident. It’s important you do a little research to understand the laws in your state so you can receive proper compensation.
If You Miss the Deadline
If the statute of limitations runs out before you file a lawsuit, the defendant will more than likely file a motion to dismiss, and win. There are some exceptions that could apply in special circumstances. If one or more of the following applies to your situation, you may be able to file a lawsuit, even if the statute of limitations has technically expired.
- The Discovery Rule – Though this is typically an exception in medical malpractice cases, it can help in some car accident situations. Perhaps you were injured in a car accident, but didn’t realize it until weeks or months later. For example, you could have received a brain injury, but not realized it was an issue until you had a seizure months later. If your doctor could track it back to the accident, you may have proof for the statute of limitations to begin at the time your injury was discovered.
- Minors – If you were under age 18 when you were injured in a car accident, you wouldn’t be able to file a lawsuit. As soon as you turn 18, the statute of limitations would begin, and you could start the process then.
- The Defendant’s Absence – Some defendants leave the state following an accident, perhaps in hopes of avoiding the lawsuit. If you can’t serve him or her with the claim, the statute could be put on pause until the defendant returns.
There are other exceptions as well, and with the assistance of your attorney, you can learn what those are and whether you qualify for any.
Contact your attorney today to get started with your case. With legal representation, you can get your lawsuit filed on time to avoid missing an opportunity you deserve.