Understanding the Statute of Limitations in Personal Injury Cases

Huffman & Huffman Brothers-in-Law, P.L.L.C.
4 mins READ
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If you’ve ever found yourself involved in an accident or suffered injuries as a result of someone else’s negligence, the thought of pursuing a personal injury lawsuit might have crossed your mind. However, the complexity of the legal process often intimidates individuals, causing them to delay taking action until it’s too late. That’s why today, we want to shed light on an essential aspect of personal injury law—the statute of limitations. By understanding this crucial timeframe, you can make informed decisions and protect your rights effectively. 

You may have heard the term statute of limitations before but may not know exactly what it means or how it could affect your personal injury case. Here are important details about the personal injury statute of limitations: 

What is the Statute of Limitations in Personal Injury Cases? 

The best way to think about the statute of limitations is that it is a timer. The moment you get in an accident, the timer starts counting down. You can only file a lawsuit if your claim comes before the statute of limitations expires.  

This is true for all sorts of types of accidents. Medical malpractice, dog bites, auto accidents, product liability, premises liability, and wrongful death are all types of lawsuits that follow the statute of limitations.  

The amount of time for statute of limitations can vary from state to state. For example, Virginia statute of limitations is two years. That means you have two years to make a claim or file a lawsuit if you have been in an accident.  

How Does the Statute of Limitations Impact Personal Injury Claims? 

Getting injured in an accident is an awful experience, and the lasting effects of it can roll over for years and years. Apart from the physical and emotional toll, the financial impact can be overwhelming. The consequences of an injury often result in missed work, causing significant loss of income. Furthermore, the need for hospital and doctor visits is almost inevitable. Rehabilitation may become a regular commitment, consuming both valuable time and substantial financial resources.  If your injury was related to an auto accident, you will also have property damage which further compounds the financial burden, especially if your car is totaled and you need to purchase a new one. 

Making a personal injury claim or filing a lawsuit soon after your accident is highly recommended. You are entitled to seek compensation for your damages, such as missed time from work, medical bills, and pain, suffering, and inconvenience. Waiting can could potentially hurt your case. That is why it is critical to have a good understanding of the personal injury statute of limitations and to know the personal injury lawsuit timeline. 

Exploring the Timeline of a Personal Injury Claim 

Because the length of personal injury cases varies greatly from case to case, it’s hard to provide an exact timeline. On average, personal injury claims and lawsuits take one to three years to be resolved and the exact timeline depends on several factors.  

So much goes into a personal injury claim or lawsuit, which is why the process can be lengthy. It is also worth noting that you will need to sufficient evidence and records of everything that happened in and after the accident. 

Factors Influencing the Duration of Personal Injury Cases 

While every case is unique, here are some common factors that can affect the length of your personal injury case:  

  1. Complexity of the case. If there are multiple parties involved, extensive investigation needed, or technical aspects that need to be analyzed, it can significantly affect the duration of a case.  
  1. Severity of the injury and required treatment. The severity of your injuries will have an impact on the length of your personal injury case. Treatment and follow-ups for injuries like broken bones or brain injuries will take longer. It is important to wait until you are done treating your injuries before you accept a settlement from the insurance company.  
  1. Liability dispute. If there is a dispute on who is at fault or the factors that contributed to an accident, it can impact the timeline. No matter the size of the accident, you should always call the police. They will take down a written record of everything that happened which is vital in a potential liability dispute.  
  1. Insurance companies. Insurance companies may use tactics to delay paying out an injury claim. Many times, they may dispute the extent of the injuries, request additional documentation, or prolong time between communications. These tactics used by an insurance company can extend the duration of the case.  
  1. Settlement negotiations and lawsuit. Settlement negotiations take time. There is often a back and forth between the parties until an agreeable settlement amount is offered. If a settlement is unable to be reached, that is when a lawsuit is typically filed, which can lengthen the process even further as court schedules typically have a backlog of cases.  
  1. Choice of legal representation. Hiring an experienced personal injury law firm that can handle your injury claim will help expedite the process. It is important to select a law firm that specializes in personal injury claims and has a track record of efficiently resolving injury cases. Hiring a personal injury lawyer will also ensure that a personal injury lawsuit is filed before the statute of limitations timeline runs out.  

If you or a loved one were hurt in an accident and need legal representation, it’s important to make a claim as soon as possible. Huffman and Huffman Brothers-in-Law is here to help protect your rights and guide you through the process. Our firm has over 50 years of experience in handling personal injury cases and successfully recovering full and fair compensation for our clients. Contact our legal team today for a free case evaluation. Let our family help your family!  

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