If you've been injured and are considering filing a personal injury claim, you may have some questions regarding the time limits surrounding personal injury suits. Below is an overview of time limits in personal injury cases, including how soon you should file and when an extension may be granted.
How Soon Do I Need to File a Personal Injury Claim?
It's best to file a personal injury claim as soon as you've been injured, but if you don't have any plans to file immediately, you'll need to keep your state's statute of limitations in mind.
For example, if you're injured in a car accident and you live in New Jersey, by law, you have two years from the date of the injury to file your claim. In many cases, however, it looks much better to file a personal injury claim as soon as the injury occurs but after you've gotten medical treatment. The suit itself can take a while to put together, from the hiring of a personal injury attorney to the reviewing of medical records, so it's in your best interest to start working with an attorney on your case as soon as you possibly can.
What If An Injury from An Accident Years Ago Hasn't Surfaced Until Now?
This is a much more common personal injury issue than most people realize, but luckily, you may still have recourse, even if the statute of limitations has run out. This is called the discovery rule and may be allowed, depending on the circumstances.
An example of the discovery rule would be the development of mesothelioma in an individual who worked in an asbestos mine. Mesothelioma usually takes anywhere from 20 to 50 years to develop, and even though the statue of limitations has long run out by then, you can still likely file a personal injury claim. There are time restraints that limit when you can file following the diagnosis of an injury after the statute of limitations has run out, so it's important to speak with an attorney immediately about your options.
What If My Time Is Almost Up, but I Still Want to File a Claim?
In certain cases, you may be able to request an extension on your state's statute of limitations.
If the injured party was a minor, disabled, or mentally ill, they may still be able to file a case after the statute of limitations has passed. This will depend on the state and the circumstance, so it's best to consult with a personal injury attorney if you feel that you still have a case.
To learn more about personal injury claim time limits, consult with a personal injury lawyer today.