We put ourselves through a little bit of risk anytime we leave our homes and enter out into the world. That’s just how the world works. Accidents happen, and sometimes we can be at the receiving end of these incidents.
If you’ve been injured as the result of another person or entity’s negligence, it’s essential that you take action to get the compensation that you have a right to under the law. Failure to do so could disrupt your life and leave you saddled with medical bills that might be too expensive to ever really recover from.
Lawsuit filing is not something that the average person knows a lot about. However, understands the ins and outs of the process is key if you want to succeed in bringing a case forward. What do you need to know about the timeline for filing a personal injury lawsuit? Read on.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Not every injury and accident will be able to be grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. There are a number of legal elements that need to be in play for an individual or entity to have personal injury liability.
The main legal element that needs to be in play is negligence. If a person or entity has acted negligently, it means that they’ve failed to act in a manner that lives up to the standard of care we expect in society.
A person that speeds through a red light and causes an accident would be a negligent driver, for example. A doctor who gets drunk before performing surgery and makes a serious mistake would be considered extremely negligent.
Not all injuries will have a party behind it who can claim liability. It is possible for a person to be injured and for no one to be at fault.
If a person was visiting a movie theater, spilled their own drink, and then immediately slipped, fell, and hurt themselves? The movie theater likely wouldn’t be able to be held liable.
This is because the theater wasn’t given time to find out about and rectify the problem. If there was a spill, they were notified, and they failed to act, this could be another story. However, in our initial example, no negligence really exists.
If you’re unsure whether you have a case against another individual or entity, it’s important to sit down and discuss your case with an attorney as soon as possible.
They’ll have years of experience handling similar cases and will be able to walk you through the legal options for your personal situation.
Timing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
The timeline for filing a personal injury lawsuit can be deeply important to the success of the overall enterprise. The timeline will likely vary depending on the specifics of the case at hand.
Certain personal injury lawsuits, such as car accidents, tend to proceed quicker than others. The more difficult it is to prove negligence, and the link between this negligence and your injuries, the longer a case might take to reach a conclusion.
This means more complicated cases need to be filed even quicker to allow for this extra time.
The filing time might also depend on the injuries sustained in the accident. If you’ve experienced sustained injuries that may require continued care over a longer period of time, it can be difficult to finalize your case.
This is because you and your attorney will need to get a proper sense of how long you will need care for and what those continued medical costs might be.
Statute of Limitations
In addition to time constraints arising from the accident itself, one will need to keep those constraints passed down by law in mind as well. Each state in the country has a statute of limitations, which is a set of laws that outlines when a lawsuit can and cannot be brought forward.
Any personal injury lawsuit is subject to the statute of limitations in the state in which it is being filed. The statutes set strict deadlines for filing, though these deadlines will vary state by state. From one state to another, the timeframes required to file can differ in quite a drastic manner.
It’s important to familiarize yourself with the statute of limitations in your state quickly after an accident occurs. If you fail to file within this window of time, you will no longer be able to bring a case forward at all.
You will have rendered yourself legally unable to receive compensation — a dangerous position to be in.
What if you don’t recognize your injuries until many weeks after the initial accident actually occurs? Is this all-lost time?
It depends on where you’re located. Most states have a discovery rule in place that can extend the deadline if an individual did not know that they were injured. You will need to have a reasonable basis to explain why you assumed there were no injuries.
The most common timeframe is two years to file following an incident. Some states, such as Florida, allow for as many as four years. This should be enough time to bring your case forward and see it through, but there’s no use wasting time.
Talking to an attorney as soon as you can after an incident occurs can help you get your case on its feet as soon as possible.
Understanding Personal Injury Lawsuit Filing
No one wants to see themselves on the victim’s side of an accident, but it does happen. It’s important to be aware of the realities of lawsuit filing if you hope to make it to the other side of your case in one piece. The above information can help.
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