How Much Time Do I Have to File a Motor Vehicle Accident Claim?

After you have been involved in an accident it’s important to understand that you are subject to a statute of limitations. What is a statute of limitation? It’s a law that sets the maximum amount of time that a party is allowed to file a lawsuit from the date of the accident.

How much time is given depends on the state and the crime. For example, serious crimes such as murder and rape have no maximum period under a statute of limitations. A person can be tried for a murder that happened decades ago. But when it comes to car accidents or other types of personal injuries, a lawsuit must be filed typically within two years. The reason is because in the time between the date of the accident and the time lawsuit is filed, a person can become involved in another accident or develop different symptoms. No court will be able to determine if the injuries that the claimant says they have resulted from the first accident or a subsequent event.

If you have been injured in a car accident, then it is important to file a claim as soon as possible. The strength of your case also depends on how soon you file after you have been injured. As mentioned before, if you wait too long, then the insurance company and their attorneys will argue that your injuries were not that severe. According to them, if your injuries were severe enough, then you would have been in much too much pain to not go to the emergency room. They will be suspicious of the honesty of your testimony.

But the other reason why you should see a medical professional after you have been involved in any type of accident, whether it involves a truck or a car or a bicycle, is because you could be suffering from an injury that’s only going to get worse as time goes on. One frightening example is stomach bleeding. The seatbelts you wear to protect you in an accident can cause stomach bleeding when the force of the body is pressed against it very hard. You may notice bruising on your body in the shape of the seatbelt, but signs of stomach bleeding, such as purpling of the skin or abdominal pain, may not show up for several hours. Whiplash is another injury caused by car accidents that may not show up for several hours or several days.

If you are offered medical assistance at the scene of an accident, then take it. After you have received your medical care, or even while you are still at the hospital, you can go ahead and start contacting a personal injury lawyer.

When To Contact An Attorney

In the state of Illinois, there is a two-year statute of limitations for personal injuries, and five years for damage to property. However, you do not want to wait that long to file a claim. The likelihood of being believed gets smaller and smaller the longer you wait. Attorneys for the insurance company are going to argue that if your injuries were severe enough, then you would have gone to the emergency room right away rather than waiting. They will argue that perhaps your injuries resulted from another accident, or something that you did to yourself, yet are blaming this accident for it. Belleville car accident lawyer Hipskind and McAninch can help you build a strong claim to present to the insurance companies.

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