Why You Shouldn’t Wait Too Long to File a Personal Injury Claim
All personal injury lawyers know how important it is to file a timely claim for any kind of case, whether it is for a broken leg, chronic disease or mental anguish. Many local governments enforce a statute of limitations on injury claims, so it’s important to pursue compensation within the allotted time frame. Even the most serious and apparent cases can be dismissed in court if they are filed after the statute of limitations has expired.
How Long Do I Have to File?
Since every region creates and maintains its own laws regarding personal injury claims, you should contact a licensed attorney to learn about the applicable statutes in your area. In some areas you may only have 12 months to file a claim before the statute expires. Other jurisdictions offer plaintiffs several years to identify injury and begin seeking compensation through the judicial system.
What If I Don’t Discover Damages Until Long After the Incident?
Since many injuries do not become apparent until some time after the initial accident or event that caused the damage, many regions have a discovery of harm rule to help plaintiffs. This means that the time restrictions imposed by the statute of limitations does not start to “count down” until the victim knows, or should have reasonably known, about the extent of their injury.
For example, a mistake by a surgeon may not become known to the patient for several years after the operation. Fortunately, the discovery of harm rule means that the statute time frame does not begin until symptoms of the malpractice become apparent. These rules can also apply to some types of emotional distress damages depending on individual circumstances.
Other Reasons to File Early
When seeking compensation for psychological injuries or physical damages it is often much easier to gather evidence, including documents and accurate testimony, shortly after the incident. The longer you wait to consult an attorney and file a claim, the harder it is to build a proper case. Even if you aren’t sure that you are going to file a personal injury claim, it’s a good idea to gather as much evidence as possible in the days or weeks following the incident. You may be able to learn more information at Preszler Law.
You should always consult a professional, licensed attorney after sustaining any kind of physical, mental or emotional injury. Your lawyer can advise you on how to defend your future by gathering material evidence and testimony that could be used in a future claim. It never hurts to prepare for the worst, even if your injury seems minor at the time.