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How Long Do We Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

When you get injured on someone else’s property through no fault of your own, you can seek to file a personal injury lawsuit. This will hold the owners responsible and they will compensate you for the injuries and suffering they caused through their negligence. Of course, when the accident first happens, you’re not likely to be thinking about lawsuits and liability. You’re trying to take care of yourself and make sure you’re OK. 

Fortunately, you have up to three years after you fall and hurt yourself to actually file your slip and fall claim, although that may vary depending on your state. The understanding is that it takes time for you to figure out the severity of the injury, begin your recovery and decide if pursuing a lawsuit is necessary. 

You might not consider a personal injury claim until the bills have started stacking up and you realize you can’t handle this on your own. The important thing is that you act within that three-year window and get the legal counsel you need to make the right decisions for your health and future.  

Timeline After the Accident

Right after the incident occurs, your first priority is to get the treatment you need. Get medical attention immediately and follow up afterward to make sure the doctors can catch anything wrong. Keep all of these records and bills from this treatment so you have documentation for later. 

While it might not feel immediately important right after the incident, another smart thing to do is document the incident itself. Take pictures of the area where it occurred, record statements from others who saw it happen and write down exactly what you remember from the accident before too much time passes. 

If you know the medical costs are going to be extensive and insurance won’t pay for everything, you might want to go ahead and find an attorney. The attorney can advise you about the proper steps moving forward, although you’ll still want to wait to file your lawsuit until you have a clear sense of what the full costs of the accident will be.

Get a Professional Opinion 

There’s no problem with waiting six months to a year after an accident to seek out a lawyer you trust, although you shouldn’t wait longer than is necessary. If you are fully recovered or your doctor has given you clear predictions of what further treatment you’ll require and what the costs might be, you can start looking for a lawyer.

Don’t be afraid to take the time to meet multiple lawyers and see what each has to say. You want a licensed trial attorney with experience in personal injury law who will fight hard for you, but you also want them to be honest and realistic with you. 

A qualified lawyer on your side can make a world of difference when it comes to pursuing your claim in court. Whether you accept a settlement or take it to the judge, your attorney will know how to get the most out of your claim and maximize your payout.