When you are in an auto accident, you might feel as if you are being pulled in so many different directions. You are worried about your own injuries and how they will affect your personal life and your ability to hold down a job. You might also be worried about any of your loved ones who may have also been injured in the accident. Finally, your car has probably sustained some serious damage, and it might be awhile before you have the money to either fix it or purchase a new one.
What you do need to be keenly aware of, out of all these issues, is the matter of statutes of limitations. After you are involved in your accident, you have a set amount of time during which you need to get your claim filed. These limitations can change how you and your insurance claims are handled. If you file a claim past the deadline, you will not be able to file a case or a claim with your insurance.
If you have a personal injury claim resulting from an accident, then you have two years to file a lawsuit with regards to auto insurance. If you have property damage to your vehicle or personal property, then you have three years for which to file a lawsuit.
Wrongful death claims that stem from auto accidents also have statutes of limitations which prevent people from filing lawsuits outside the allotted time period.
Adults generally have two years in which to bring their claim against the insurance company who insured the wrongdoer or the negligent party. However the story is different for minors, or anyone under the age of 18 in the state of California. Minors have two years from the date that they reach majority or age 18 or until they are 20 years old.
Another example is if a 12 year old girl is injured in a car accident by a negligent party at fault she would not be expected nor would her parent or guardian be expected to bring her lawsuit by the age of 14 or two years later. Instead the injured 12 year old female plaintiff is given two years from the time that she attains or reaches the age of 18 years of age or in this case she must file her personal Injury claim by age 20.
If a public or governmental entity is the negligent party at fault then the statute of limitation or time-frame for which you have to file your claim is much shorter and is usually 6 months from the time of the accident injury or wrongful death.
WE would be happy to further guide you when you come into our offices and meet with our team of experienced and professional Personal injury attorneys who have over 40 years of combined legal experience in personal injury law.
The times following an auto accident are stressful, but if you want to bring a solid case before a jury within the statute of limitations, there are some things you can do to better prepare yourself for what is next:
• Research insurance: In some cases, your insurance company and the other person’s insurance may cover your property damage and injuries. Before filing anything, check with these entities to find out if filing a suit is needed to procure compensation. If it is, keep reading.
• Gather evidence: The more evidence you have of the degree of negligence of the party at fault, the stronger your case becomes and the better. Start by getting a copy of the police report and contacting any witnesses to get their statements. You should also have taken pictures and gathered other pieces of evidence to strengthen your case.
• Announce intent to file: If you are serious about your claim, you should notify the person you’re planning to sue. It’s important to know that this does not mean that you have to file. You can change your mind.
• Decide to hire a lawyer: An attorney will help you every step of the way through the filing process and will be by your side throughout the ordeal. Once you hire your lawyer, he or she will be ready to move you onto the next step, and you will file the lawsuit.
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, don’t wait too long before you file a suit. Though you may have other issues on your mind, you don’t want to wait before it’s too late.
If you need help, you can call us at Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507 for a free, no obligation consultation.
We Will FIGHT For YOU!