When Do I Have to Decide to Sue or Not After a Car Accident?

You were involved in a car accident, possibly resulting in physical injury, and now you’re wondering how long you can wait before deciding whether or not to sue the at-fault driver. You feel you deserve compensation and you feel the other party should be held responsible, but perhaps you don’t have the energy to take on something so big right now. Maybe your physical injuries are enough to handle alone. Maybe you’re worried you won’t be able to win the case or that it will turn against you. In any situation, you have some time before you have to decide about suing, but you don’t have the rest of your life, so it’s important you contact an attorney and start weighing your options.

The Statute of Limitations

Each state has a different statute of limitations regarding car accident cases. This statute is a time limit that a plaintiff has to submit a claim against another party. In most states the statute hovers around two or three years, though some are as low as one year and others reach up to six years. Be sure you speak with an attorney as soon as possible after your accident so you can determine the length of time you have before your claim cannot be brought.

A Few Exceptions

The statute of limitations for your state may offer some exceptions. Some of the situations that may grant you an extended amount of time are:

  • If you’ve been in a coma
  • If the at-fault party left the state immediately following the accident
  • If you are a minor at the time of your accident
  • If you are disabled or mentally ill

You should also speak with your lawyer about the discovery rule. Some injuries don’t present themselves until a later date, and if you can prove the injury was a direct result from the accident, the statute of limitations wouldn’t begin until the time you discovered the injury. For example, if your statute of limitations is two years and you just discovered today an injury you sustained in an accident one year ago, the statute would start today.

Contact an Attorney for Help

If you think you might want to sue the at-fault driver involved in your accident, be sure to contact an attorney for assistance. Your attorney can help you determine whether or not to sue, as well as let you know how much time you have to file the lawsuit. Contact your attorney today for help.