Delayed Accident Symptoms: Do I Have Any Legal Rights?
If you're injured in an accident, you're entitled to compensation, and even if you don't notice the effects for a while, all hope is not lost. You can still take legal action, but you need to act quickly. Follow these steps after you've noticed delayed accident symptoms so you can get the help you need. The information provided here is for general information only and should not be used as legal advice.
5 Steps For Dealing With Delayed Accident Symptoms
- Speak to a lawyer immediately. Each state has a different statute of limitations, so find a personal injury lawyer who can help you take action quickly.
- Don't think you have to accept a settlement. The insurance company will want to give you a small amount of money to avoid a trial and hope that you'll go away, but just because they're offering doesn't mean that you should take it.
- Have a medical professional (or three) check you out. You need a doctor to verify your injuries so you can show the court that your complaint is legitimate.
- Save all documents and collect evidence. Everything you do will be scrutinized, so save all medical bills and any other information relating to the incident.
- Be prepared for a long fight. The other party likely has a lot of resources, so understand that it may take a while for you to receive compensation. Talk to an attorney so you have a full understanding of the process.
Statues Of Limitations For Personal Injury
|State||Statute of Limitations|
|Colorado||2 years, 3 years if motor vehicle involved|
|Delaware||2 years, 3 years in certain circumstances|
|Kentucky||1 year, 2 years if motor vehicle involved|
|Michigan||1-3 years depending on details of accident|
|New Hampshire||3 years|
|New Jersey||2 years|
|New Mexico||3 years|
|New York||3 years|
|North Carolina||3 years|
|North Dakota||6 years|
|Rhode Island||3 years|
|South Carolina||3 years|
|South Dakota||3 years|
|West Virginia||2 years|
Motor Vehicle Crashes By Year
|Year||Fatal Accidents||Crashes With Injuries||Property Damage Only||Total Crashes|
How Does A Personal Injury Claim Differ From A Workers' Compensation Claim?
While they both involve bodily injuries, these two types of claims are very different. A personal injury claim can range from everything from a traffic accident to medical malpractice, while workers' comp deals with injuries suffered in the workplace. Not only are the types of injuries different, but the legal requirements are also different. It's important to follow the correct rules for the type of injury you've sustained, and take note of the filing deadlines. If you think your injury is the result of a workplace incident, consult this guide for more information.
Vehicles Involved In US Traffic Collisions
|Vehicle Type||Number of Vehicles In 2016|
The Largest Auto Insurance Companies In The US
|Rank||Company||Direct Premiums Written In 2017||Market Share|
|1||State Farm||$41.8 billion||18.1%|
|2||Berkshire Hathaway (Geico)||$29.6 billion||12.8%|
|6||Liberty Mutual||$11.6 billion||5.0%|
|10||American Family||$4.4 billion||1.9%|
If you're injured in an accident and it isn't your fault, you're entitled to have your medical expenses paid by the other driver's insurance. But what about if you don't notice the symptoms until much later? It may still be possible for you to file a claim, but you need to act quickly. Follow these steps to determine what your legal rights are and how to pursue them.
Step #1: speak to a lawyer immediately. Each state has a different statute of limitations regarding personal injury claims. What that means is that if you're going to file a lawsuit, you have a set amount of time to do so, and if you wait too long, you're out of luck. The amount of time you have depends on which state you live in.
In many states, the limit is 2 years. However, in some states, such as Maine and North Dakota, you may have as long as 6 years. But in Kentucky and Tennessee, it's only one year. Some states also have different limits depending on the type of accident. If you're just noticing your symptoms now, there's no time to waste. Find an attorney who specializes in personal injury to go over options.
However, in some states, such as Maine and North Dakota, you may have as long as 6 years.
You'll want to make sure you're familiar with the laws in your state before proceeding, so check out our full guide to delayed accident symptoms. You can find it right beneath this video.
Step #2: don't think you have to accept a settlement. Both parties would rather avoid a lawsuit and not have to hash things out in court, so it's likely you'll first negotiate with the other driver's insurance company to try and work out a settlement. However, it's important to note that these negotiations don't affect the ticking clock of the statute of limitations. If you spend a year negotiating and the statute of limitations is a year, you might lose your right to sue if you're not careful.
Insurance companies are hoping that you don't want to go to trial, so sometimes they even have policies of denying claims automatically just to see if you won't bother. Some states are enacting laws to fight this practice, but no matter what, don't take no for an answer just because it's difficult to fight them.
Some states are enacting laws to fight this practice, but no matter what, don't take no for an answer just because it's difficult to fight them.
You also may really need the money if you're unable to work, so you'll be tempted to take the insurance company's best offer. But you need to think about the future, and if what they're offering won't cut it, going to court might be your best option. It's no fun to go through a lawsuit, but you also shouldn't accept a bad offer when you're the one who's suffering.
Step #3: have a medical professional check you out. If the case goes to trial, your injuries are going to come under scrutiny. The other side will argue that you aren't suffering as much as you claim, or that your injuries came from a different accident and not the incident in question. You'll have to defend the fact that you are really hurt.
The insurance company might have someone follow you to catch you engaging in a physical activity to accuse you of lying about your injuries. They also might have someone call you under the guise of asking a few innocent questions to trick you into saying something about the case. We aren't lawyers, and this isn't legal advice, but whatever shady technique you can think up, a greedy company has probably used it.
The insurance company might have someone follow you to catch you engaging in a physical activity to accuse you of lying about your injuries.
That's why you need to see a doctor and get a proper diagnosis, and have that doctor provide a statement. You might even want to see several doctors who can back up your claims, because the person who injured you and their legal team might try to find other doctors to contradict them.
Step #4: save all documents and collect evidence. If you have medical bills, you need those as proof of the money you were forced to spend because of the injury. You should also save your pay stubs and other work information as proof of lost wages from the accident. Any document relating to the accident and its aftermath could potentially prove vital down the road.
That also includes the contact information of any witnesses or those who have seen the damage inflicted from the accident. You'll want to give your lawyer the best chance possible to win the case, and that means having as much proof as you can. For more on what you'll need, check out our full guide on this page. You can find it right beneath this video.
You'll want to give your lawyer the best chance possible to win the case, and that means having as much proof as you can.
Step #5: be prepared for a long fight. Auto insurance companies make a lot of money, and they didn't get to be so big by handing out huge checks all the time. They're going to fight tooth and nail to avoid paying up, and if the case goes to trial, it could drag out for a long time.
You need to understand how long it may take and the financial hardships that will come with holding out for a judgement. They're going to hope that you'll give up and settle, so be ready for a difficult fight. No matter what, you need to speak to a lawyer who can explain how the process works in your state before it's too late. Be sure to read our full guide to delayed accident symptoms. Scroll beneath this video to get started.
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