When you’re injured, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention and focus on getting the physical help you need. Immediately following your medical care, however, you should start thinking about filing an insurance claim, and possibly a lawsuit. There is a time limit for which you have to file your claim, so it’s important you get started right away.
Filing an Insurance Claim
Most insurance companies have a policy that states you need to file your claim as soon as possible, or that you do it promptly. This means something different to every individual and every insurer, so the best rule of thumb is to just get it done as soon as you are able. The sooner you file the claim, the sooner it will be resolved. If you wait too long, the adjuster may have a harder time corroborating your story and you may not receive what you feel you owe.
The Statute of Limitations in Your State
Every state has something called the statute of limitations, which is a deadline you are obligated to meet if you plan to file a lawsuit. If your insurance claim doesn’t work out how you thought it should, or if you are going straight to filing a lawsuit, be sure you know what the statute of limitations is in your state. Each has a different statute, so you should never rely on the knowledge of someone from another state.
For example, Georgia’s statute of limitations for personal injury is only two years, whereas Missouri allows individuals five years to file their personal injury lawsuits. While many do hover around two years, you can see there are some drastic differences between some states.
Filing a Claim After the Deadline
If you wait too long to file your lawsuit, it’s possible you’ll forfeit the right to receive the compensation you feel you deserve. If you are insistent on filing beyond the deadline, in most cases a judge will throw out the case upon realizing the statute of limitations was not withheld. There are some exceptions to the statute of limitations, so if you fall in one of these categories, you may still be able to file beyond the typical statute in your state.
- A victim in a coma. If this happened to you, the statute of limitations wouldn’t begin to tick until you were awake and competent enough to understand what happened.
- A victim who is a minor. If you were younger than 18 years of age when your accident happened, the statute wouldn’t begin until your 18th
- A victim with delayed discovery. Some injuries simply aren’t discovered until a later date, and at that discovery date is when the statute of limitations would begin.
Contacting a Lawyer
As you can see, there is a fairly strict timeline you have to follow if you plan to seek compensation for your injuries.