Is it Too Late to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney for My Car Accident?By Stewart J. Guss on May 11th, 2018
Dealing with the aftermath of a serious car crash is NEVER fun or simple. Your injuries can bring your life to a screeching halt due to pain and the limitations they cause. Your doctor may order you to rest, stay home from work, and attend numerous treatment appointments. At the same time, you might have to fix your car or shop for a new one. Your bills and household duties don’t stop just because of your accident, so the stress of your injuries and losses just adds to the everyday stresses.
Pain and stress can wear on you and adding anything else to your plate likely seems overwhelming. For this reason, many people wait some time to contact an attorney. As the medical bills and other expenses add up, you may begin to wonder if you’re entitled to any compensation. The questions at this point are often: Is it too late to hire a personal injury attorney? Did you wait TOO long?
The answer to this question varies from case to case, and the best way to know if you still have a legal claim is to talk to an experienced attorney who can analyze the situation. Our team of personal injury lawyers at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, regularly meet with accident victims who are unsure of their rights—and we will evaluate your situation for FREE. We’ve handled personal injury claims for decades, so please call us right now at 1-800-898-4877 or to discuss a possible case.
Time Limits for Personal Injury Cases
Many people may think—or try to convince themselves—that they have PLENTY of time to file a lawsuit. That hiring an attorney will be too much too quick, and they need to take some time to rest after a bad accident.
While you should always focus on your recovery, you can have a lawyer simultaneously handling your legal matter, so calling a lawyer ultimately will not add to your stress—it will DECREASE it!
The reality is that you DON’T have an indefinite period of time to file a lawsuit after a car accident. Each state has a law that sets a time limit for this type of case, which is called the “Statute of Limitations.” Statutes of limitations can vary widely from state to state, so where your accident occurred can affect how long you have to file a claim. Most states, including Texas, have a two-year or three-year statutes of limitations for injury-related claims. However, in Tennessee, you only have one year, and in Maine, you have as long as six years! Some states have different statutes of limitations for vehicle-related injuries and non-vehicle-related injuries. What we’re saying is that each state law can vary significantly.
To make things more complicated, a statute of limitations can contain exceptions that can increase the time you have to take legal action. Knowing whether you’re eligible for an exception can especially help if you are getting close to when the statute of limitations runs out. A skilled personal injury lawyer will know how to identify whether an exception applies in your case and can advise how long you have.
Some accident victims know there’s some sort of time limit for a lawsuit—but fail to take it seriously. You should take a statute of limitations VERY seriously. If you miss this window of time, the defendant can point out that you’re past the statute of limitations, and a judge will likely dismiss your entire case. This time limit is not a suggestion, but law, so if you’re not sure about the law in your state, call our office as soon as possible to learn more.
Don’t Wait Too Long to Call
Just because you have a certain period of time to file a claim doesn’t mean you should wait until the last second to call an attorney. Too many people think they have two years to file a lawsuit, so calling a lawyer a month before the deadline will work. This is HIGHLY unadvised. However, a lawyer must do an awful lot before even filing a claim, and preparing a lawsuit takes time.
Many car accident claims require some amount of investigation, often to pinpoint the cause of the crash. Even if the cause is obvious to you, evidence is needed in order to prove that cause. Other drivers are not usually forthcoming when it comes to admitting their negligence, so proof of their negligent behavior is required. This can take time and resources, such as hiring an accident reconstruction expert in some cases.
In addition, most personal injury cases don’t head straight for the courtroom. Instead, a case will begin with an out of court claim against the negligent driver’s insurance company. Many cases are handled through the insurance process and won’t even need a lawsuit. However, if the insurance company doesn’t make a fair offer, a lawsuit is generally the next step to spur it to settle for a favorable amount.
You never know what an insurance company will offer until you have an active claim. Sometimes, an insurer will make a first offer that covers all of your losses—though this is RARE. More often than not, an insurance company will make an EMBARRASSINGLY low first offer. This means your lawyer will go back to the negotiating table with as much evidence as possible that you deserve MUCH more. These claims can go through many rounds of negotiations, and insurance companies are NOTORIOUS for causing unnecessary delays. Sometimes, even getting an adjuster to return a phone call can prove challenging. For this reason, you want to start this process as soon as possible to make sure you still have time to file a lawsuit if necessary.
Call Today to Learn How Our Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help You
If you’re wondering if it’s too late to file a claim, the best thing to do is pick up the phone and call a car accident attorney! The sooner you discuss your accident with the right law firm, the sooner they can get to work on your case. The team of attorneys at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, will do everything possible to help every client fully recover financially after a crash. You won’t pay a DIME out of pocket—and we don’t get paid unless you do. Please call us today at (800) 898-4877 or to set up your free consultation.