Legal Guide

How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Claim

When it pertains to filing a personal injury claim, it's less about how long you can wait and more about how long you have. Usually, the laws in most states give at least a year for you to file your claim. However, you do not want to wait until the last minute to get things started.

Personal injury claims need work prior to filing to receive the maximum amount of compensation available for your case. That work does take a good chunk of time to do thoroughly. If you decide to wait until the last minute, you risk putting your compensation at risk.

Do I Need to Wait to File a Personal Injury Claim?

There's no waiting time period if you wish to file a personal injury claim. You can start the process right after your accident occurs. However, it's best not to rush it. The last thing you want to do is file prematurely. While this may seem counterintuitive given that filing near the deadline isn't optimal either, the fact is that you want to file at the optimal time.

What Is the Optimal Time to File a Personal Injury Claim?

Each state has their own statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim. For instance, South Carolina gives you three years from the date of the injury to file a claim. Other states just give victims two years. Usually, the best time to file a claim is when you have:

  • Correctly evaluated all your sustained damages after your accident and calculated a concrete total for your financial compensation
  • Spoken with a personal injury lawyer that can represent your best interests
  • Completed all medical treatment
  • Gathered all the evidence necessary to have a solid case for your claim

When you have all these finished, then you should file a claim. If you file too early and settle too quickly, you might wind up missing out on the compensation you now will never get. Once a claim gets settled, the defense and the insurance companies have no obligations to pay you any further.

How Can I Know the Statute of Limitations in My State?

The best way to find out how much time you have to file your personal injury claim is by checking the official code of your state. Most states usually have two years to file a claim. Some states can have as long as six years and others as short as one. Always double-check, and when in doubt, talk to a personal injury attorney for further support.

What Happens If I Pass the Statute of Limitations?

If you pass the statute of limitations for your personal injury claim, there is not much you can do to recover financial compensation. While some states do provide exceptions occasionally, these aren't typical and really difficult to obtain. This is why it's vital to track how much time has passed.

Begin Building a Solid Case for Your Claim As Soon As Possible

Whatever accident led to your personal injury, you'll want to receive medical attention as soon as you can. While you shouldn't blindly rush into filing your claim, you do not want to wait too long to get care. Insurance companies might see that as an indication that your injuries and damages weren't that significant.

You'll also want to begin gathering police reports, medical records, witness testimonies, and other evidence fast. Unfortunately, evidence often deteriorates quickly, so time isn't on your side. It's easy to understand that after an accident, it's difficult to move forward with these steps. However, you need to understand that the longer you let time pass, the more difficult it becomes to receive fair compensation.

Consult with a Personal Injury Lawyer Today

After sustaining injuries from your accident, the last thing you want is legal stress hindering your recovery. Speak to a San Francisco personal injury attorney immediately to help you build your case and file your personal injury claim on time while you rest and focus on recovery.


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