All court actions are time-sensitive. When it comes to personal injury actions, victims only have so much time or they will miss out on the opportunity altogether. To find out more about how time matters after a car accident, read on.
Why Time is Limited
The law protects both defendants and victims in equal measure. Evidence can be weakened or lost if too much time passes before action is taken and a suit is filed – and that goes for both sides. Witnesses can forget what they saw, move away, or become unable to testify if too much time passes. That is why the law provides rules on taking action. Each state has a statute of limitations governing how long victims have to move forward with a case.
Get to Know the Statute of Limitations
Here's what victims and their loved ones should know about this important game-changer when taking legal action against a careless driver:
- The statute of limitations runs anywhere from one to six years depending on the state in which the vehicle accident occurred. That is an important point for victims to understand. You take action and use the laws of the state where the accident occurred and not your own state of residence or the state where the driver lived.
- The moment the accident occurred, the clock starts to tick. It can only be paused (tolled) when a victim is unable to take action due to incapacitation. For example, victims who are too badly injured to take action can wait until the doctor clears them to make legal decisions. You may also toll the statute of limitations if the victim is a minor. However, parents can always go ahead and file a lawsuit on a minor child's case.
- You might have a great case against a careless driver but are uncertain about how to take action. That great case becomes irrelevant if the time exceeds the statute of limitations in the appropriate state. Lawyers won't take cases that are too close to the expiration date because it takes time to prepare a case. Even if you don't intend to take your case to court and hope to settle the case, you won't find a cooperative party to negotiate with if your case is about to run out of time to file. One of the hooks used to propel a settlement hinges on the threat of a lawsuit, after all.
Don't allow time to run out on a perfectly good personal injury action. Once you speak to a lawyer about your case, they won't let that happen so hand your case over to a personal injury lawyer today.