Statute Of Limitations Go Hand-In-Hand With Accident Claims

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After being involved in an auto accident attorney, you may have a valid claim for compensation. However, while the claim's validity might not expire, your ability to lawfully file a claim can and will. This time limit is known as a statute of limitations. If you were involved in an accident and plan to file a claim, it is vital to understand more about this law. 

Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations is best viewed as a window of opportunity. This window dictates how long after an accident the victim has to file a claim against the responsible party. Once this period has passed, the victim no longer has a legal route to file a lawsuit to recover any losses they incurred due to the incident. State law notates how long this period is, but 2 to 3 years is a normal time limit. An attorney can tell you the specifics in your state. 

Discovery Rule

As with most state laws, there are always exceptions, one of these exceptions is the discovery rule. This rule applies in incidents where the accident victim may not have been immediately aware of an injury sustained. For example, several years could pass before a victim discovers they suffered a back injury due to the collision. With these cases, the law states that the statute of limitations clock does not begin until the injury has been discovered and documented. 

Minor Exceptions

Another exception is applied to minors. If you have a child involved in an accident, the standard statute of limitations does not apply. For minors, the clock does not begin until the child turns 18. Even if the child were two years old at the time of the accident, the clock would not start until they reached 18. You will need to check state laws to verify the minor rule in your state. 

Defendant Absence

To file a claim, the victim must be located, and sometimes served. Generally, not until these processes have been completed can the case move forward. If the defendant cannot be located, it will slow the entire process down. For this reason, some states will pause the statute of limitations clock when the negligent party in the case cannot be located or is not in the state for an extended period. 

Make it a point to speak with an attorney as soon as possible to see where your case rests so that you can seek compensation for your injuries and losses. For more information, contact an auto accident attorney near you.