Statute of Limitations: Auto Accidents

Auto Accident Lawyer

After an accident, you might want to wait to file a claim against the insurer or at-fault party, but you need to be mindful of your state’s statute of limitations on personal injury claims. While it is natural to want a thorough understanding of all your injuries and estimated recovery times, it is not always essential to have all the information at the time of filing your claim. An auto accident lawyer can help you determine the appropriate time to file any paperwork or the demand letter.

If you’ve been in an auto accident, it’s important to understand the statute of limitations and how it may apply to your case. 

Standard Statute of Limitations

Most states adhere to a two-year statute of limitations for a personal injury claim. The two-year timeframe applies to all parties of legal age — 18 years or older. The timeline starts from the date of the accident, and it only regards the final filing deadline. Therefore, a case can occur after two years, but all paperwork and the demand letter must be submitted before.

In some states and for some cases, the two-year timeline might be extended upon a special request. For example, if a potential plaintiff is incapacitated, a judge might temporarily expand the statute. However, the judge might more likely allow a family member to sue on behalf of the victim.

An auto accident lawyer will work with victims in accidents caused by negligent drivers who were intoxicated, speeding, texting while driving, distracted by their phone or any other number of reasons why crashes happen today. 

Age and Special Circumstances

The two-year timeframe is for those of legal age. Consequently, younger people will have more time to file a complaint. The timeline will vary based on age, but it is essentially the number of years until the plaintiff is 18 plus two. Therefore, a 14-year-old will have four years plus two to file a claim for a total of six years. Most states will have exceptions and extensions for minors, but it is best to check with local law enforcement or an attorney to find out.

Government Entities and Shortened Timeframes

Suppose you were injured while riding public transportation or while in a government facility; your window to sue gets drastically reduced. In many areas, your window will go from two years to only a few months.

Whenever a government entity is involved in the claim, make sure to file as quickly and fully as possible. Again, a personal injury attorney can help.

Are you interested in pursuing action against a negligent party? If so, contact an auto accident lawyer and discuss your claim. They can help you determine the favorability of your claim and decide if it is worth taking action.



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