Every state has a law that specifies how much time you have to get your case filed. This law is known as the statute of limitations, and it marks different deadlines for different types of cases. If you were involved in a car accident or injured yourself in a slip and fall or trip and fall, or if you were bitten by a dog, you should be aware of the statute of limitations for personal injury claims for your state. In Florida, for example, you have four years from the date the accident happened or from when you first became aware of your injuries to file a claim. On the other hand, if you will be filing a claim against the government or one of its agencies, the time period is much shorter.
When is the most appropriate time to file a personal injury claim?
Despite the time limits marked by the statute of limitations of your state, it will work in your favor if you file your claim as soon as possible. Letting time go by without taking action may make it much harder for you to defend your claim.
Some insurance policies may even want you to initiate a claim process as quickly as within 24 hours of the incident. Waiting to get the process started may make insurance companies suspicious and give them the opportunity to conclude that the damage you are claiming was not actually caused by the accident but that it might have happened at a later date.
How much time do you have to report the incident to the DMV?
The time you have to report a car accident to the police or the DMV varies depending on where the incident took place. Even though some injuries or damages may not become apparent immediately at the time of the accident, your best option is not to wait and call the police as soon as possible to file a report. This report will serve as evidence for any claims you might file.
In Florida, you have ten days to report the accident to the police, but other states will have you reporting the incident immediately after it happened. No matter what time frame is mandated by your state, reporting it immediately after the crash will most likely result in a smoother claims process, thus increasing your chances of recovering your losses.
Should you wait to file until your injuries are completely healed?
If you are under medical treatment, there is no need for you to wait to file a claim until you are completely healed, whether you are filing a personal injury claim or filing with your insurance.
Waiting until the entire medical treatment has been completed may result in you missing your state’s statute of limitations and losing any opportunity to recover your damages. Remember that there is a big difference between getting the process started and accepting a settlement offer or getting a verdict on your claim. You will not know the extent of your damages until all the medical issues have been fully resolved.
If you need to hire a personal injury lawyer to help you with your claim and are unsure as to how to go about it, you can read here to find out what steps you need to take to do so.