Not only are car accidents terrifying, but they cause serious injuries. Whether its whiplash, a broken rib, a traumatic brain injury, a spinal cord injury, or something else, you’re sure to suffer severe consequences in your daily life.
It helps to know how long after an accident you can claim an injury. Claiming an injury will allow you to gain compensation from the person responsible for your accident, regardless of how it occurred. However, if you wait too long to claim an injury, you could be stuck without a chance of compensation. It’s essential to speak with a car accident lawyer about claiming an injury as soon as possible after an accident.
How Long Do You Have to Claim an Injury Caused by a Car Accident?
All states carry a statute of limitations for bringing charges against others in civil or criminal suits. The length of a statute of limitations will vary depending on the severity of the crime or negligent action and the consequences that the victim endures.
In many states, including West Virginia, you must bring a claim for injury within two years to gain compensation.
While filing a claim within two years may seem easy, it can be more challenging than you think. You may have to meet several deadlines to file a proper personal injury claim. In addition, you may have to enter into negotiations before you can file a claim. If so, you’ll need help from a personal injury lawyer to make sure that you follow all legal procedures before filing a claim.
How Long Should You Wait Before Calling a Lawyer?
If you have two years before you need to file a claim, you may think you should wait at least a year or more before calling a lawyer. However, this is not necessarily the case. Everything involved in a personal injury claim takes more time than you expect.
First, of course, there is the time that you will need to deal with and recover from your injuries. If you suffered pretty severe injuries, you may need to spend weeks or months in treatment or the hospital. You’ll probably need surgery or an operation, and you may need even more than one! Plus, you’ll have to start taking medication or attending therapy to get as quickly as possible on the road to recovery.
Then there’s the time that it will take to collect evidence. You can’t file a claim and simply prove it because you believe it’s true. You will need evidence that the at-fault party caused the accident and that you are not responsible for the injuries you suffered.
You’ll need evidence, including:
- Medical records
- Medical bills
- Receipts for repairs to damaged property
- A police report
- Eyewitness statements
- Expert testimony from medical professionals
- Testimony from your family and friends
- Photos or video footage from the accident scene
It takes time to gather such evidence, and you’ll likely need legal help. That’s why it’s so important to call a personal injury lawyer as soon as you can. They’ll work hard to gather the evidence you need to win your personal injury claim. They’ll also ensure you don’t miss any critical deadlines while recovering from your injuries.
What Do You Do After a Car Accident?
To file and pursue the most effective personal injury claim possible, you must start the case right.
This means that you need to take a few important steps to ensure your claim goes well.
- Seek medical attention. Immediately seek medical attention from first responders. You must know what injuries the accident caused and treat them.
- Call the police. If they are not already at the scene, do be sure that you call the police to get their support. It’s helpful to have a police report on hand when you’re creating a complaint as police reports usually have very specific details on the accident and how it occurred.
- Talk to witnesses. While you’re at the accident scene waiting on the ambulance and police, speak with others who witnessed the accident. Ask for their contact information and, if you have time, for a written statement of what they saw.
- Take photos. Use your phone to take pictures of obvious injuries, damage to vehicles, and other relevant evidence such as skid marks or damaged guardrails.
- Call your insurance company. As required, call your insurance company to report the accident. Be sure not to offer an apology or admission of guilt since that could work against you in a personal injury claim.
- Exchange insurance information. You will need this information from the other driver to seek compensation from their insurance company.
- Call a personal injury lawyer. As soon as you have time, get on the phone with a lawyer who offers a free consultation to begin the next steps toward your personal injury claim.
You must take these steps after an accident if you want to fight for your claim successfully. Your lawyer can calculate what damages you suffered from economic and noneconomic losses and pursue compensation for them.
Remember that the most important step you can take is to get medical attention right away to ensure your successful recovery. Once you’re on the way to health, a personal injury law firm’s lawyer can help you sort out everything else.