If you’ve been injured by someone else’s negligence in a fall or a car accident, for example, you may well have incurred significant medical expenses, lost wages for a period of time, or even have permanent disabilities that will affect you for the rest of your life. In many cases the negligent party’s insurance company will work with the injured person to “take care of the expenses.”
In reality, that insurance company is usually doing its best to limit losses and expenses for itself and its insured party. Your interests are hardly a priority.
You can be certain the insurance company has a well-staffed, experienced legal department whose sole objective is limiting the company’s payments and compensation to you.
Personal Injury Suits: A Powerful Tool
In many personal injury cases, victims at some point may become frustrated by their mounting expenses, the disruption to their lives and the lack of cooperation by the negligent party’s insurance company and will then consider suing the liable party or parties.
But that frustration may take some time to build as insurance companies employ delaying tactic after delaying tactic, all while the injured party continues to incur more expenses.
Too often victims of personal injuries feel increasingly overwhelmed and may delay talking to an attorney about a suit. Unfortunately, those delays can be a serious mistake as every state has laws establishing time limits known as statutes of limitations on filing suit for personal injury claims.
This means waiting too long to file suit for a personal injury claim can prevent a victim of a personal injury from ever filing suit.
In addition, injured parties who immediately enlist the help of experienced personal injury attorneys are less likely to be “pushed around” by insurance companies.
What are the Statutes of Limitation?
Statutes of limitations on personal injury claims are determined by individual state law and vary by state.
In Missouri, the statute of limitations on personal injury cases is five years from the date when the injury is discovered. However, In Illinois the statute of limitations on personal injury cases is two years from the date of the accident in the majority of cases.
The limitations range from one to six years, with one year in states such as Kentucky and Tennessee to six years, as in Maine and North Dakota.
In some states, the statute of limitations for plaintiffs who are minors at the time of their injury begins when the minor plaintiff turns 18. This means a 17-year-old in a state with a five-year statute of limitations has until five years after his or her 18th birthday (23 years old) to file suit.
When the Injury is Discovered Matters
When the statute of limitations “clock starts” for filing suit can be impacted by when the injury is actually discovered.
Following some surgeries, a patient may be bothered by persistent pain or discomfort for months or even years before discovering that the surgeon who performed the surgery left a sponge, temporary bandage, or other foreign object in the body, causing ongoing health problems and pain.
In these cases, most state’s statutes of limitations would be determined based on the date on which the foreign object was discovered.
Time is Not the Plaintiff’s Friend
While there are exceptions that can change a statute of limitations, victims of personal injuries should realize that the negligent party’s first – and best – line of defense is going to be the expiration of the statute of limitations for filing a claim.
So putting off seeking legal counsel and as a result, being slow to file suit can mean you have legal remedy. This is not an unusual situation as many potential plaintiffs feel overwhelmed by their injuries, financial issues related to medical expenses and inability to work regularly if at all and other stresses associated with these life-altering events.
Seek Experienced Legal Counsel
Given the immense stresses and expenses, and the complexities in various state laws affecting personal injury claims, working with an experienced personal injury attorney is essential.
Rest assured, the insurance company with whom you’re dealing has a large team focused on limiting the company’s payouts to injured parties. Marler Law Partners has extensive experience with personal injury cases and treats every client with understanding and compassion.
Contact us today for a complimentary consultation regarding your specific situation.