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Time to File a Claim

Time. Everyone always wants more time. Unfortunately, the clock is always ticking, and it is crucial to use the minutes wisely.

In the world of personal injury law, time is especially critical and valuable. A claim requires it to inform decisions about damages, and a client needs it to comprehend the accident, and the lawyer wants it to establish a credible and indestructible claim.

Unfortunately, there is never enough time. Each state has ensured only enough to allow average recoveries and preparations, and they do so through statutes of limitations.

How Much Time Do You Have?

Most states provide a statute of two years, meaning you have two years from the date of your accident to file a claim. While the two years might not seem fair to all accident victims, the court cannot afford to be one-sided. Therefore, instead of allowing the alleged at-fault party to fear a lawsuit endlessly, the states cap the timeline.

Thankfully, the timeline is not the same for everyone. Minors or those not of legal age at the time of the accident will have an extended filing window in most states. The standard two-year timeline is extended, appended by the number of years until the minor reaches legal age. Therefore, a 15-year-old will have five years to file a claim — three years until turning 18 and two years after.

Special Circumstances

The statute is not the same for every accident or victim. For example, if a victim is incapable of filing due to their injuries, a judge might allow an extension of the statute. If they do not permit more time, the judge might allow a family member to sue on behalf of the victim.

The statute is also cut short if the accident included a government institution like public transportation. In many states, when a government entity is involved, victims will often only have months to file a claim. In many cases, a victim must file a claim within three months.

Legal Advice and Preparation

While two years might not seem like a long enough time to discover and recover from all injuries, it doesn’t have to be. You can file a lawsuit before having a comprehensive understanding of your injuries. However, before filing a claim, speak to an attorney.

A lawyer can help you navigate the personal injury timeline. If you have not yet done so, contact a personal injury attorney to learn more.