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How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim?

A Personal Injury Claim Form sits on a desk

If you are seeking legal counsel for a personal injury you’ve sustained that was not your fault, you will likely file a claim for personal injury compensation.

This means you are asking the local branch of Washington state’s civil court system to find the other party liable for your injuries. Ultimately, you would like to be awarded compensation, or “damages.”

In order to do this, however, there are strict time limits you must adhere to:

You could be eligible for compensation through the courts if you were injured as a result of a road traffic accident, an accident at work, or a trip-and-fall accident. What’s more, if you can prove that the accident happened as a result of somebody else’s negligence, then you will probably be able to pursue a successful claim for compensation.

It is not uncommon for the repercussions of an accident to not be fully realized for some time. The after-effects of an injury could take weeks or even months before you can assess the impact of the injury on your life.

Additionally, major injuries may necessitate medical treatment that could continue for an indefinite period of time.

One of the main questions among people who are injured at the hands of another is “when should I submit my personal injury claim?”

When Should You File Your Personal Injury Claim?

Even if you are still receiving medical treatment for an injury, you can still proceed with your personal injury claim.

You want to begin the legal process as soon as you can, whether it is an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit. However, if you intend to take your case to court, you will have to abide by strict deadlines.

This is why it is always smart to get the legal process on your personal injury claim started early.

The lawsuit time limits are listed in state laws called statutes of limitations. You should know that there are various time limits depending on what type of case you are bringing forward to the court. Also, each state has its own deadlines for filing a lawsuit over a personal injury. The vast majority of states allow anywhere between two years to five years to have the case brought forward in the court system.

Launching the case consists of filing the personal injury complaint – then subsequent to that – you will serve the defendant.

Statute of Limitations for Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

The personal injury statute of limitation, or the time you have to file your personal injury lawsuit, applies to all personal injury cases. Each state has particular laws when it comes to statutes of limitation.

In Washington state, for personal injury lawsuits, the statute of limitations is three years from the time of the injury-causing event.

After the statute of limitations elapses, you no longer have the right to file a lawsuit other than in very rare circumstances. It is best to contact a knowledgeable personal injury attorney if there is the possibility that your injuries came from someone else’s negligence.

There are unusual circumstances that can legally extend the statute of limitations. For example, incapacity, minority age, or fraud could prolong the statute of limitations.

Can You Receive an Extension on the Statute of Limitations?

You could be awarded an extension if you missed the deadline to turn in your car accident lawsuit or you won’t have time to file.

You should know that extensions are usually only given for rare, specific situations. For instance, if you become incapacitated from the accident and are not able to file a claim, the court has the discretion to grant you an extension to the statute of limitations. However, you will have to offer medical proof of incapacitation. There may be other extensions and exceptions granted for very narrow sets of circumstances.

You are advised to speak to a lawyer that specializes in this area to learn more about the statute of limitations and exceptions for these types of cases.

Maximum Medical Improvement and Settlement

Prior to accepting a settlement offer from either the defendant or an insurance adjuster, you must find out if you have reached “maximum medical improvement” or MMI.

MMI states that you are as healthy as you are going to be in the aftermath of your accident injuries. You, along with your lawyer, can value your damages in terms of required future medical care and the continual financial impact of your injuries.

Keep in mind that there is no downside to starting the claims process before you have reached MMI. However, you need to have a firm awareness of your damages – both past and future – prior to resolving your case.

It is highly recommended that you consult with a personal injury attorney if you are involved in an accident that might be someone else’s fault.

Roberts Jones Law Is Here To Serve Your Legal Needs During Personal Injury Cases

If you have been involved in an accident and there are multiple parties involved, you need legal services from an experienced personal injury attorney from Roberts Jones Law. Our attorneys at Roberts Jones Law have the expertise and experience necessary to effectively handle multiple insurance companies simultaneously and to build a case designed to protect your rights and interests.

At Roberts Jones Law we will provide you with the guidance, care, and support needed to secure the compensation you deserve. If you have been injured as a result of someone’s carelessness, breach of duty of care, or deliberate act, you have rights under the law to seek compensation for your damages.

Trust the attorneys at Roberts Jones Law when you want legal services catered to your individual needs. Contact us today for a free consultation.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not contain legal advice.

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