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How Much Time Do I Have to Take Legal Action After My Car Accident?

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Filed under Automotive, Editorial

Car accidents happen every day and range from minor fender-benders to destructive multi-car pile ups. Fortunately, the more devastating car crashes are relatively rare, but any car accident has the potential to cause a lot of damage. If a person was in a car accident that was not their fault, then they are eligible to receive compensation from the insurance company of the party that caused the accident. This is called a personal injury claim. The personal injury claim can progress to a personal injury lawsuit in some cases, but this is rare.

While a claim or a lawsuit is great for compensating a car accident victim for their losses, they need to be filed on time in order to be valid. If the victim waits too long, they are not allowed to file their claim and cannot receive compensation. That is why it is recommended that anyone who was in a car accident contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. The attorney will make sure that the personal injury claim gets filed on time. An attorney can also help the victim in many different ways, all of which will give them the best chance of receiving maximum compensation.

The Statute of Limitations

The rule that determines the time a person has to take legal action is called the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations determines how long after an event the victim is allowed to take legal action. It varies based on the legal action being taken and the state where it takes place. For example, the statute of limitations for a civil case is different from the one for a criminal case; and the statute of limitations for legal action in Florida would be different for the same legal action in Hawaii.

That means the accident victim should be aware of the statute of limitations in their state and how it applies to the legal action they intend to take. Fortunately, if they retain an attorney, then the lawyer will already have that knowledge and ensure that their client’s personal injury claim is filed on time. It is not just important to file a claim on time because of the statute of limitations, it is also vital because evidence of the at-fault party’s negligence could fade over time. Damage to vehicles could get repaired; injuries from the car accident could heal; witnesses could move away or forget important details; surveillance footage could get erased, and more. All of these reasons are why car accident victims should file their personal injury claims as early as possible.

How an Attorney Can Help You

Aside from making sure that their client’s claim is filed within the statute of limitations, an attorney can help with a personal injury claim in several different ways. An attorney can gather evidence that proves the liability of the at-fault party; they can total all of the economic and non-economic damages to calculate the correct settlement amount; they can negotiate with the insurance company to get them to offer a fair settlement; they can take the case to trial if that becomes necessary.

Best of all, an attorney’s services don’t cost anything because personal injury lawyers tend to use contingency fees. That means they don’t get paid unless your case is successful, in which case, they receive an agreed-upon percentage of the settlement reward. Personal injury attorneys also offer free consultations, so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by hiring a personal injury attorney after a car accident.


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