How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim?
The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit in California is two years. Similar rules apply to file a claim with a private insurer. In either case, prompt action is important for getting the compensation you deserve.
Why you should act immediately
Enjoying the best possible results from an insurance claim or a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer takes seeking their help as soon as possible after your accident. Here’s why:
- To show your sincerity and good intentions: Insurance examiners and court officials are always on the lookout for fraud. A person who waits too long to start a claim or file a lawsuit risks raising their suspicions.
- To speed the process of receiving your compensation: The sooner you receive the funds you need, the sooner you can pay past-due bills, make up for lost income, and replace damaged or destroyed belongings.
- To preserve the proof you need: Time has a way of making evidence harder to come by. Witnesses forget key details, medical records are misplaced, and at-fault parties do their best to sweep safety problems under the rug.
- To show that you’re serious about achieving a fair outcome: Acting now will send a clear message to those on the other side. They will treat you accordingly.
- To give you the assurance you need to focus on your recovery: Knowing that your insurance company or attorney is hard at work on your behalf can help you to relax and concentrate on getting better.
Statutes of limitation in California
Sometimes, of course, it takes time for accident victims to initiate the claims process. That’s why insurance companies and the court system allow up to two years for injured parties to initiate action.
The court may allow exceptions to this rule in very rare instances, like when the injured party is underage or the harm caused by the accident takes time to become apparent. But seeking a deadline extension is a complex procedure that requires the help of a Los Angeles personal injury attorney.
Relying on insurance to handle the matter can backfire on you
Sometimes accident victims put off filing a claim because they have confidence in the insurance claims process. But assuming that the insurer will give you the full compensation you deserve can set you up for long-term problems. Here’s why:
- Insurance companies sometimes short-change injured parties: This can happen for several reasons, from poor accident investigation procedures to outright greed. Whatever the cause, the results are never good for the person struggling to put his or her life back together.
- It’s always a good idea to keep your options open: Insurers are more likely to treat you fairly if they know that you’re within the deadline for seeking professional legal help.
- Fully addressing your damages may take both insurance and a lawsuit: Insurers are only obligated to pay a claim up to the contractual maximum. Beyond that point, you may need an attorney’s assistance to make the negligent party do the right thing.
- The causes of an accident are often more complex than they first appear: A thorough investigation may reveal that multiple parties are to blame for your injuries, lost income, and other related expenses. Uncovering these hidden aspects is beyond the skill set of most insurance adjustors.
Choosing the right law firm to handle your case
Choosing a law office is a big decision. But it doesn’t have to be time-consuming or stressful. Here are some tips to help you in your search:
- Never pay for consultations: Recovering from your accident is your top priority right now, not handing out your hard-earned cash to simply tell your story.
- Look for a law office with convenient locations: Don’t make things harder on yourself by adding a lengthy commute to your list of challenges.
- Ask about the firm’s track record: This includes the amount of money the firm has recovered for its clients over the years. For example, the attorneys here at Ellis Injury Law have recovered more than $350 million for their clients over the years, a figure which can’t help but inspire trust.
Once you consider these factors, we’re confident that you’ll choose a personal injury lawyer from Ellis Injury Law to handle your case. Contact us today to set up your free consultation. We’re happy to help you in any way we can.