How long can you wait to sue for personal injury?

Updated on March 16, 2021

A statute of limitations prevents a prosecutor from charging a person with a crime that was committed a specified number of years prior. Each state sets its own statute of limitations, and each crime has a different limitation. For example, murder has no statute of limitations, which means that a person can be arrested and brought to justice several years later after they’ve committed a murder. There are statutes of limitations on all sorts of crimes such as treason and embezzlement of public funds, so when you are looking up the statute of limitations in your state, you will want to ensure that you were searching for the statute of limitations on personal injury law.

In the state of New York, for example, the statute of limitations on most kinds of personal injury cases is three years from the date of the accident or the event that caused the harm to the client. It is important to also work with a personal injury lawyer in your state because the neighboring state has different laws

Why do statutes of limitation exist?

Society needs to have a statute of limitations in order to protect freedoms. Physical evidence and eyewitness memory deteriorates over time. In a neuroscientific study, a year after the 9/11 attacks, 37% of people that were interviewed again after an initial interview two weeks after the tragedy had recalled different details in their testimonies. Three years later, 43% of them had a drop in memory accuracy, even though they were extremely confident in their memory. Memory also gets distorted as people age. The law must work to protect victims but it also protects people from being accused of crimes based on shaky evidence and foggy memories.

When it comes to personal injury cases, the physical evidence of the injuries can change as the injury heals. But injuries can also be exacerbated by other physical activities, including repetitive activities at work or while out having a good time. 

What is the impact of waiting to file a personal injury claim?

Nobody wants to be held liable for something they didn’t do or weren’t part of, so it’s important to the success of your case to have your injuries treated right away if you have not already. For example, an insurance company would be suspicious of a victim suddenly claiming serious injuries several days after an accident. They might suspect that the injury was caused by something else. This is why it is crucial to seek medical attention after an accident and to never speak to the insurance company without your lawyer present.

Why should I hire a personal injury attorney?

There are a number of reasons why you should hire a personal injury attorney immediately after your accident. They can tell you more about what your legal rights are when filing a lawsuit and what kind of compensation is potentially available. Most importantly, they know the deadlines and dates that are important to the success of your case. They can conduct a thorough investigation and negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company. So don’t delay – call a personal injury attorney to schedule a consultation before it’s too late. You may be entitled to damages, including medical bills, damaged property, lost wages, and more.


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