How Soon Do You Have To Commit To Filing A Personal Injury Claim?

Anyone in a situation that might call for filing an injury claim can feel like there's a lot going on. This can also make it feel like there are major time pressures to file a claim. If you're planning to file, how quickly do you have to commit to doing so? Here are a few considerations when hiring a personal injury lawyer.

How Soon Do You Need to File?

In short, Two to Three Years, in Most Cases. All U.S. states have statutes of limitations on filing claims. These are rules that require claimants to get their cases moving within a specified period. Filing within two to three years of the date of an accident is the standard in most states and for most cases.

There are notable exceptions to the statute of limitations. Many states have laws that provide longer or no statutory limits on sexual abuse or chemical exposure claims, for example. The clock for repetitive injury claims also tends to not start until the issue is discovered. On the flip side, a lot of states impose shorter periods on claims against government agencies and some of their designees. These periods can be as short as 6 months. Regardless of the circumstances, contact a personal injury attorney right away. They can tell you what the statute of limitations is for a case like yours in the state where you reside.

Time Pressures

Most likely, you will have two years to move forward with your case. Subtract a bit for however long it has been since the accident. That seems generous enough, but there are a couple of associated time pressures. Foremost, a personal injury lawyer still needs time to assemble the case. That means collecting supporting information, especially medical reports that outline your condition.

Also, most attorneys want to see how much a client will recover physically before launching into the demand phase of a case. If there are permanent injuries, they want to know because the client deserves compensation for those. Likewise, you don't want to discover something after you've accepted a settlement because there's no ability to go back for more compensation.


You should be aware that all of these time pressures only apply to the time you have to notify the defendant or their insurance company of your demands. Once a personal injury attorney has shipped the demand package to the defendant, the clock stops. The defendant will have to review the demands in a reasonable amount of time, usually meaning a few weeks or months. If you end up negotiating or suing, though, there isn't any additional statutory limit on when you have to wrap it up.

For more information, contact a personal injury lawyer in your area.