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Lawsuits & Litigation

When Should You Begin Filing for Personal Injury?

— May 26, 2022

Personal injury lawsuits should be filed by the deadlines set by every state.

Nobody ever plans on getting injured, but when it happens and it’s not even your fault, your lifestyle can take a deep dive. Whether it’s an accident that leaves you unable to work or a fall that took away your ability to perform, these incidents are not only costly but can also interfere with your life forever. 

That being said, for you to obtain any form of settlement, you need to file your personal injury claim within a specific timeframe. But when should that be? Well, the answer is simple and not quite. Let’s find out more! 

When Should You File?

The simplest answer to when you should file is: as soon as possible. Even if you are still going through medical treatment for your injury, there’s no reason for you to wait when filing the claim. You should do it immediately, while you can still get medical evidence and records for your wound.

The clock starts ticking from the moment you get injured, after which you need to gather evidence to prove the severity of your situation. When you bring this aspect to court, you will need to respect a certain deadline. 

Each state may have a different deadline. For example, in New Jersey, the Statute of Limitations during which you can file is two years. This means that if you live in Jersey City, you will need to hire a Jersey City personal injury lawyer before that. Failing to do so may prevent you from bringing the case to court. 

The earlier you start, the more benefits you will reap. Keep in mind that you also need to gather the evidence for the lawsuit, which can take a fair amount of time. Don’t postpone it, thinking that “there’s plenty of time for that.”

Why Are There Statutes of Limitations?

Lawsuits don’t age well, regardless of their nature. Witnesses may become unavailable, memories fade, and the details that were once clear in someone’s mind might become blurry. As a result, such a dispute may be difficult to finalize, as the parties may not even remember what exactly happened. Even the funds from the insurance company may be affected the more you wait on your lawsuit. 

This is why personal injury lawsuits must be filed within the first 1-2 years of the incident, depending on the state. This way, the chances of human error will be much lower, and the lawsuit won’t end up floating in the courtroom with no results.

Is an Extension Possible?

Indeed, each state has its own Statute of Limitations, the average being around two years. With that in mind, there are also some exceptions to this. For example, if the victim was a minor and had no one to file for them, then an extension could be granted for when that person came of legal age.

Clock face; image by Age Barros, via
Clock face; image by Age Barros, via

Other circumstances where you could get an extension are if you become incapacitated as a result of an accident, and you were not able to file the claim. These circumstances include complete bed rest or even someone that entered a coma. In these circumstances, medical proof will be needed.

Lawsuit extensions are quite complicated, which is why you may need to hire a personal injury attorney to help you with the process. The earlier you hire them, the better it will be. 

For example, certain states might need a request or an extension, before the deadline comes to pass. If you are still hospitalized, your attorney can take the required steps to obtain your extension. 

How Long Will My Personal Injury Case Take?

The earlier you file for your personal injury lawsuit, the faster you will reach a settlement on the verdict. On average, it can take around 1-3 years for a case to finalize, so if you wait on the filing, it can add up to 3-5 years post-injury until the lawsuit reaches a conclusion. 

This is why you should file a lawsuit as soon as possible. This way, your chances of experiencing delays are less likely, and you will have a better chance of reaching a favorable lawsuit. Make sure to hire an attorney from your own state, as they are more likely to be familiarized with the laws.

The Bottom Line

Personal injury lawsuits should be filed by the deadlines set by every state. However, to make it easier for you, you should file right after you get injured. This way, you can receive the compensation necessary to cover the expenses caused by your injury.

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