After you suffer an injury in a car accident due to another driver’s negligence, you generally have two years to file a lawsuit in Texas and West Virginia. However, exceptions do exist under the law.
An insurance claim is not the same as a lawsuit, though, and claims come with their own deadlines, as well. If you need to file a personal injury lawsuit, it is in the injured party’s best interest to start as soon as possible after the crash. Doing so means that the facts in the car crash are still fresh in the minds of witnesses.
Adhering to the Statutes of Limitations for Filing Car Accident Claims
The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim after a car crash is a part of the law in nearly every state. Failing to adhere to this deadline could cause you to forfeit your right to seek compensation.
Texas’s Statute of Limitations
According to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §16.003, the majority of personal injury cases in Texas must be filed within two years of the accident that caused the injury.
There are a couple of exceptions to this two-year window, including:
- Unknown date of accident: If the injury cannot be linked to a certain date, the deadline could be extended, such as if you were in more than one car accident in a span of several weeks.
- Minor child: If the injured party was a minor at the time of the accident, the two-year deadline does not begin until the child turns 18 years old.
West Virginia’s statute of limitations
WV Code §55-2-12 generally gives claimants two years to file a car accident lawsuit.
The primary exception to this law deals with minor children; the statute of limitations does not begin until the child’s 18th birthday.
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Do not Delay Filing a Suit After a Car Accident
Some people are wary about filing a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident. They may be nervous about the time that may be required, or they may not want to face questions from other lawyers. However, waiting too long could leave the victim with no recourse, should the deadline for starting the process expire.
Hiring a personal injury attorney can help take the weight of the legal process off your shoulders while you rest and recuperate. A lawyer with our firm can assume the responsibilities of your case from beginning to end.
If You are Unsure of the Extent of Your Injuries
After a car accident, you may think you only suffered minor injuries. Perhaps you did not feel injured after the crash, or you did not experience immediate symptoms. This does not mean you should avoid seeking medical attention.
Some injuries do not display symptoms right away but later lead to severe medical complications. Whiplash, for example, may not manifest until weeks after the accident, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Eventually, you may realize that the nagging injuries you are feeling are related to the car accident. Delaying medical attention can worsen your injuries, and a liable party may argue that you contributed to your losses in an effort to undervalue or deny an insurance claim.
Investigating an Accident and Negotiating with Insurers Takes Time
Seeking compensation after a car accident usually begins with filing an insurance claim with the liable party’s provider. During this process, the insurance adjuster will investigate your case to determine who bears fault for the accident and how much your damages are worth.
If your lawyer needs to challenge an adjuster’s determination of fault, they need time to conduct their own investigation. They also need time to gather evidence and negotiate a fair settlement with the insurer. This process can take longer than you may expect, but the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit begins counting down from the date of the accident nonetheless.
You will want to give your lawyer as much time as possible to abide by the statute of limitations should you choose to pursue litigation.
What Happens if the Statute of Limitations Expires?
If you wait too long to file a lawsuit, you risk having your case dismissed by the court and losing your chance to obtain compensation for your injuries. Do not let a negligent driver get away with causing you losses without a fight. We can begin working on your case immediately.
Some of the services we can provide include negotiating with the insurer on your behalf, showing that the other driver was at fault, and determining a fair settlement amount. We will not hesitate to represent you at trial should the other driver’s insurance company refuse to come to a satisfactory agreement.
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Contact the Attorneys at Underwood Law Office to Determine how Long You Have to File a Claim
If you suffered personal injuries in a car accident that was not your fault, you do not have an unlimited amount of time to file a claim or lawsuit. Depending on the state where the accident occurred and your specific circumstances, you generally have two years to take legal action in Texas and West Virginia.
Underwood Law Office can get to work on your case right away so you can abide by the deadlines for seeking compensation. We are ready to help.
Call us for a free consultation.