A Few Basics to Help You Understand Personal Injury Claims

  • By:David Bate

Were you involved in an accident in which you received a personal injury? When these things happen, it’s often your best move to get a lawyer involved so you can file the appropriate forms, pay the correct fees and get it all done on time to receive compensation. The following are just a few basics to help you understand more about personal injury claims and the timeline you have to file.

The Statute of Limitations

There is a statute of limitations for personal injury claims in every state, though it varies. In one state you may have just two years, while in another you would have four. The statute of limitations begins when you receive your injury, or at the time you discover it. For example, if you fell and broke a bone on someone’s uneven sidewalk, you would most likely remain conscious and would know about your injury immediately. In that case, the statute would begin right away.

In another situation, you may fall and knock yourself unconscious on someone’s uneven sidewalk. Without consciousness, you would not know you were injured until you regained consciousness. If that happens days or months later, it would be that moment when the statute of limitations would begin.

Claims Against the Government

When you’re filing a claim against the government, there are special rules that apply. You should work with your attorney to understand these rules, but to get you started:

  • Most claims against the government allow just a six month time period for you to get the process moving.
  • The government will decide how to handle the claim with their own 45-day time period.
  • A denied claim against the government gives you six additional months to begin a lawsuit.
  • No response from the government automatically gives you two more years to get the lawsuit initiated.

A Few Exceptions

The statute of limitations does have some exceptions, so if any apply to your case, it could work to your benefit. They include:

  • Medical Malpractice – In some medical malpractice cases, the patient doesn’t realize he or she has been injured until long after the procedure took place. Your lawyer may be able to get the statute extended in this situation.
  • A Minor – A minor who is injured in an accident cannot file a claim until he or she is 18. If the child is injured at age 14, he or she would have to wait four years until age 18, and would get an additional two years in complying with the statute of limitations.
  • In a Coma – If someone who was injured was in a coma, the statute of limitations would not begin until he or she woke up and the attending medical doctor proclaimed competence.

Contacting Your Lawyer

If you are dealing with personal injury, you don’t have to handle it on your own. Contact an injury lawyer in Des Moines, IA to learn more today.

Thanks to Johnston Martineau, LLP for their insight into personal injury claims and the basics to know about a claim.

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