Following an accident, you have a limited amount of time to file a personal injury claim. After that period’s up, you’re no longer able to begin legal proceedings or seek compensation. Let’s look at how much time you have to get things started and how a College Station personal injury lawyer can speed the entire process up for you.
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Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer: How Much Time Do I Have to File a Claim?
In Texas, as in most states, you have two years to begin legal proceedings following the date of the incident. This is the statute of limitations on personal injury claims, including automobile accidents, medical malpractice, product liability claims, slip and fall accidents, wrongful death, dog bites, and more.
You’re likely to be quite shocked and upset following an accident. You might also face the misfortune of a long recovery period in the hospital and rehabilitation facilities. The prospect of starting legal proceedings so soon after your ordeal often feels stressful. But it really is worth beginning as soon as you can.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
Every type of legal action has a time limit, which is called its statute of limitations: a time limit following the event after which the accuser can no longer begin legal action. Statutes of limitations are designed to protect those accused from unfair legal action, given that evidence can become lost or unreliable over enough time. The memories of witnesses can also fade.
Should You Wait Until Medical Treatment Is Finished?
Following a serious accident, hopefully, you won’t be incapacitated, receiving medical treatment, undergoing surgery, or in rehabilitation and therapy for too long. If you are receiving medical treatment, even though it’s hard to divert energy away from your recovery, contact a legal professional as early as you can. It’s important to understand your legal options and start things moving.
There is just one possible reason for delaying. You need to know exactly how much medical attention the accident has forced you to receive. This plays a factor in the settlement amount you go after, which should cover all medical fees resulting from the incident. Once you accept and receive your settlement, the case is over, and there’s no way to get another payment later on, no matter how much you might need it.
The Value in Talking to a College Station Personal Injury Lawyer
A lawyer will talk you through the entire process and timeframe of making a claim. They’ll answer all your questions, tell you what evidence needs to be gathered, and get the ball rolling if you choose to hire them.
The clarity and support a lawyer can provide during a consultation often serve as a source of relief to claimants. Also, most personal injury lawyers work on a “no fee if no recovery” basis. This means that when a lawyer agrees to take on your case, you can feel reasonably confident that you’ll receive a good settlement, or they wouldn’t accept you as a client.
It Takes Time To Investigate and Prepare Your Case
Once you’ve hired a personal injury lawyer, it takes a while to investigate and prepare the case. A lawyer can handle it all for you. They’ll gather relevant medical records and bills, track down witnesses, and get hold of security surveillance footage and other evidence. If you were already able to gather some of this evidence directly following the accident, it will help expedite the process.
Depending on the complexity of your case, your lawyer might also arrange expert witnesses. This might include an accident reconstruction expert, a vocational expert, an orthopedic surgeon, a neurologist, a forensic accounting expert, or any other expert who can help support your claim. Good lawyers have extensive databases of expert witnesses to call upon. You can learn more here about when and how to hire a personal injury lawyer.
How Long a Settlement Takes
Most personal injury claim cases don’t reach the court. Instead, you’ll receive a settlement. This can take anywhere from a few months with minor cases to a year or more with larger, more complex claims. The time it takes to receive a fair settlement often depends on the extent and severity of your injuries. As mentioned, your case won’t be fully ready until you know exactly how much your doctor’s fees plus any other compensable losses will be in total.
The expected timeframe also varies across the different types of personal injury cases. Road accidents and work-related accidents tend to be more straightforward and can be over quite quickly: in a matter of months or even weeks. Medical malpractice cases, on the other hand, tend to be very complex and can take years to resolve.
Hopefully, this has clarified how much time you have to make your claim. Like most things in life, the sooner you start, the better result you’ll achieve.