Why It is Best to File a Personal Injury Case as Soon as Possible

When to file a personal injury claim

Why It is Best to File a Personal Injury Case as Soon as Possible

No matter why you have to file an injury claim, be it because of a car accident, a slip, and fall incident, or another unfortunate event, the vast majority of these cases are settled out of court. Many times, the affected parties will reach a settlement before any civil trial takes place. So, how much time do you have to file a personal injury claim, and why is it best to do it as soon as possible? Here’s a quick rundown of the basics!


What to Do After a Personal Injury Accident?

  • Make sure yourself and everyone involved are safe
  • Take photos of your injuries
  • Contact local authorities (especially important for auto accidents and crashes)
  • Visit a doctor if you haven’t already
  • If you have visited a doctor, make sure to follow their care plan and attend all follow-up appointments
  • Write down what happened in detail while it’s still fresh in your head
  • Make a list of witnesses and collect their contact information if possible
  • Get in touch with a personal injury attorney and follow their instructions closely


Why You Shouldn’t Delay Filing a Personal Injury Claim

When it comes to personal injury cases, many people wonder how long they have before filing a claim and seeking compensation. The time frame largely depends on the statute of limitations in your state, or the state where the accident took place. In some cases, a personal injury case may have to be filed within a year of the accident, while other states allow for a period of up to four years. 


If you fail to file a claim within that period, you are essentially waiving your rights and will not be able to get compensation. Of course, there are certain exceptions to the statute of limitations that may allow you to extend the period of filing a claim, but they are very niche. As a rule of thumb, you need to pursue a claim as soon as the accident has occurred while the evidence is still fresh. Doing that will help you prove liability, as well as the scope of the damage you have sustained. 


Plus, the case will still be fresh in the minds of the witnesses. The longer you wait, the harder it will be for witnesses to recall the exact order of events, which can then weaken your case.


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Personal Injury FAQ

The official definition of personal injury is when someone has sustained an injury to the body, mind, or psyche caused by another person’s failure to execute reasonable care. If the negligence of another person has led to your injuries, you might be entitled to some kind of compensation. Getting in contact with an attorney is crucial at this point to determine whether or not legal action should be taken.
Trying to decide whether or not you have a case shouldn’t be something you do on your own. Contacting an attorney and getting a free consultation is ideal to evaluate your situation in great detail. Your attorney will tell you who you can sue, what you can expect to get in terms of compensation, and more information based on the facts of the accident as well as the laws in your state.
On average, personal injury case expenses are 20% of the amount recovered and can range from $10,000 to $100,000. Some might even go beyond this average, depending on the instances. It’s crucial to work with a law firm that specializes in your specific type of case.
Since each case is different and will require various negotiations, details involved, etc., the time it takes to resolve each case can differ. On average, it can take from 6 months to a few years to settle. Not all cases will go to trial. A large majority of them will end in a settlement involving the defendant or the insurance company. However, the time that it will take to reach this settlement can be tough to determine, and it can range quite a bit. A claim that involves substantial injuries and a significant amount of money can often take longer to settle because the insurer will likely fight harder to avoid settling. If your case is complex or the liability is unclear, the settlement can also take longer. When you hire an attorney, you might be able to speed up the process because you’ll likely motivate the insurer to settle fairly earlier since they’ll be less likely to take advantage of you.
If you were partly at fault for the injuries, the damages you can recover would vary state-to-state. Some states use contributory negligence, which means that a victim will not be able to recover damages if they had any fault in the situation. Other states will allow you to recover damages if you were not 50% or more at fault. When it comes to what happens if you’re at fault, the rules are technical and very state-specific, which is why you should consult with an attorney after reading this FAQ.
The most common type of damage is referred to as compensatory damages. This is divided into non-economic and economic damages. ● Economic Damages: These are considered to be tangible objective costs and losses such as medical bills, property damage, lost income and earning capacity, cost of future treatments. ● Non-Economic Damages: These are considered to be more subjective and cover items like pain and suffering, lost enjoyment of life, and mental anguish. Damages have to be reasonably quantifiable, instead of speculative, to be awarded. If the defendant in the case has acted egregiously as the victim, you might be able to recover punitive damages as well as compensatory damages. These damages punish the defendant and deter the type of conduct. While rarely awarded, punitive damages can be substantial, but there are constitutional limits.
After you’ve been injured, you might wonder how long you have to file your case. This can depend on the specific statute of limitations in your state. Most personal injury cases will have to be filed within a year of the accident; however, you have as many as 4 years to file in some states. Check the rules in your state and be sure not to waive your rights accidentally. There are exceptions to the statute of limitations, but they can be quite narrow. In most cases, you should pursue your claim as soon as possible so that the evidence is still fresh and it can help you prove liability as well as the scope of the damage.