Following any kind of accident, the process of seeking treatment, collecting evidence for a claim, and filing a claim can seem daunting. Many people who aren't experienced with the claims process may not even know where to start or how long they have to file a claim. Truck accidents can be even more complicated, as they often entail far greater damage than accidents involving cars and other more compact vehicles.
Despite the potentially overwhelming nature of truck accidents, it's important to file a claim as soon as you can to avoid making it even harder to recover compensation. For every case, there is a statute of limitations in place that can make it difficult or even impossible to recover compensation after it expires. The statute of limitations begins from the date of the accident to the date of expiry. Waiting too long to file a claim could also lead insurance companies to believe your injuries and other damages aren't as serious as you may claim they are, subsequently hurting your claim and leading to a lower settlement or a denial of the claim.
If you've been involved in a truck accident and wish to take action, it's important to understand how long you can wait before pursuing compensation.
Factors Influencing the Amount of Time You Have to File a Claim
As mentioned, the statute of limitations will be the main determinant for how long you have to file a truck accident claim. The statute of limitations will vary but tends to be anywhere from two to four years, depending on the state and type of case. Once the statute of limitations has expired, you are normally no longer able to receive compensation.
However, there are a few potential exceptions when the default statute of limitations may not apply. These factors may include:
Mentally Disabled Plaintiffs
If a plaintiff is mentally disabled and that disability isn't a result of the accident, courts may choose to extend the statute of limitations for a case, but only if the individual had the disability prior to the accident.
Cases Involving Injured Minors
Children under the age of consent are not legally allowed to file an accident claim or lawsuit. While a parent or guardian may be able to take legal action on a child's behalf, the case could also be put on hold until the child turns 18, at which point the statute of limitations would go into effect.
Missing or Misidentified Drivers
When filing a lawsuit against a negligent driver or another party, you will need to serve them directly. In some cases, individuals may either be impossible to locate or lie about their identity, leading the courts to put the statute of limitations on hold.
Unless any of these exceptions apply, it's best to file your claim as soon as possible to ensure you increase your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve. Working with an attorney, you may also be able to pinpoint other exceptions that enable the courts to pause the statute of limitations in your case.
What to Do if You Have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Benefits
If you have PIP benefits, they will be able to cover any medical expenses and lost wages following an accident. Depending on the state, that PIP coverage may vary. The time limit you have to act with PIP is also shorter than the statute of limitations.
If you want to qualify for PIP coverage, it's important to seek a professional medical assessment ASAP. The medical professional will also need to diagnose you with a specific emergency medical condition, or PIP coverage will be minimal.
PIP only pays a portion of medical expenses and lost wages, and you will be unable to use it if you don't take action within the appropriate time, often within 14 days of the accident. On the other hand, you will still be able to file a truck accident injury claim if you wish to do so.
The Process of Filing a Claim and Reaching a Settlement
It's also important to file a claim as soon as possible to begin the process sooner rather than later. You should give yourself and your attorney plenty of time to build a strong case, which will help maximize your potential compensation and help you prove negligence along with the extent of your injuries.
Consider the following factors that may impact the length of your case:
• The evidence available, including photos or video recordings of the accident and the damages.
• The extent of injuries as proven by medical records and bills, along with the potential need for ongoing treatment.
• The number of people or entities involved in the case, which could go beyond drivers to drivers' employers, service professionals, manufacturers, or even local governments.
• The willingness of both parties to come to an agreed-upon settlement, which may dictate whether the case is settled in or out of court and elongate the process.
If you want to increase your chances of getting the best possible compensation with a truck accident claim or lawsuit, it's often best not to build your case alone, especially if you're unfamiliar with the process. To learn about whether you have a viable case and the types of compensation you may be able to receive for injuries and other types of damages, start your claim today with SettleForFree.com