If you are hurt through no fault of your own, you have the right to collect compensation from the person who hurt you. However, you have a limited amount of time in which you can pursue that money. Working with a personal injury lawyer will help you learn how long you have to file a personal injury lawsuit and protect your rights.
Who Are You Suing?
The statute of limitations may be different depending on who you are suing. If you are suing a person, you generally have two or three years from the date of the accident to file the suit. If you are suing a government agency, you may only have six to 12 months to do so. In some cases, the statute of limitations doesn’t start until you discover that your injuries were caused by the accident or when you should have known that your injuries were linked to a recent accident.
How Old Were You When the Accident Occurred?
Those who were hurt before they turned 18 may have two years from that date to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. This means that if you were hurt when you were 15, you would have until age 20 or 21 to pursue compensation even if five years would have passed since your accident. In most cases, a minor will be represented by a parent or another guardian appointed by the court to get the compensation that they may be entitled to under state law.
Your Case Doesn’t Have to Be Resolved Before the Statute Runs Out
It is important to note that the case does not need to be resolved before the statute of limitations runs out. It is not uncommon for a personal injury case to take many years to be resolved because of appeals and other motions brought up as the matter is being litigated. Delays may also occur if the plaintiff and defendant decide to go back to the negotiating table at any point during a trial.
You Aren’t Required to File a Lawsuit
At no time are you required to file a lawsuit against the person or entity responsible for your injuries. It is common for plaintiffs to inform a defendant or defendants that they intend to file a lawsuit if negotiations are not successful. However, this is generally done to ensure that the defendants negotiate in good faith.
If you have been hurt in an accident of any type, you should seek the advice of legal counsel immediately. Your lawyer may be able to review your case, tell you what your options are and starting working toward resolving the case in your favor.