If you have been injured in an accident caused by someone else’s careless actions or negligence, it is never a good idea to wait on filing a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation for your injuries. For every type of lawsuit, states set deadlines called statutes of limitations which limit how long a plaintiff can wait before bringing an action before the court. If the lawsuit is not filed within the statute of limitations, you may lose the right to file the suit and recover any damages, financial or otherwise, which you suffered from the accident. So, in a sense, as soon as the accident occurs the clock starts ticking.
Statutes of limitations vary depending on the type of injury, and different states set different statutes of limitations. For most personal injury lawsuits, the statutes of limitations can range anywhere from 1-10 years from the date of the accident. To find out what the exact statute of limitation is for your case, contact a car accident lawyer Dekalb County GA relies on.
Of course, like with most rules, there are some exceptions in which the statute of limitations can be extended. For example, the court may consider that the statute is “tolled”. This would mean that there is some major factor that slowed the plaintiff’s ability to file the action. These factors include, but are not limited to, the victim of the accident being a minor at the time of the injury, the victim not being mentally competent enough to file at the time of the injury, or the victim being amid filing for bankruptcy. This is not a good thing to bet on however, as there is never any guarantee that the court will agree to grant more time. Waiting to file based on an assumption that you will be able to show that the statute was tolled is never a good idea, and can lose you the right to file at all.
With the clock ticking, there is never anything to gain from waiting to file a personal injury lawsuit, and there is everything to lose. Court proceedings are already drawn out and tedious as is, and waiting will only draw them out more and make them more complicated. After your accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney in your area who you can trust will get the ball rolling. A skilled attorney will know the specific laws of your state and can ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into statute of limitations.