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How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim?

Personal injury claims become necessary when one party is injured and believes a second party is responsible for the injury. In order to seek compensation that helps to cover medical expenses and replace the income that the injured party has lost, filing a claim and possibly pursuing a lawsuit becomes necessary. This is especially true when the accused party denies responsibility and expresses no interest in attempting to settle the claim.

There are time limits that apply to filing any type of personal injury claim. Much depends on where you live and who you are claiming caused the injury. Here’s some basic information that will help you understand how long you have to file your claim before seeking legal redress is no longer possible.

Personal Injury Claims against Individuals, Employers, and Other Businesses

Filing a personal injury claim requires that you take the action within a defined period of time. That period of time is known as the statute of limitations. The time frame generally begins with the date of the injury and ends a specific amount of time afterward.

The statute of limitations for personal injury claims does vary from one state to the next. Generally, you will have at least one calendar year to file a claim against another individual, your employer, or any other type of business. This means if you sustain an injury at your local supermarket, you can file a claim within the next twelve months and be in compliance with the statute of limitations that is in force in your state.

Keep in mind that some states allow longer periods for filing claims. The only way to know how long you have to file your personal injury claim is to seek legal counsel. A lawyer who regularly accepts personal injury cases can tell you if there is still time to file. Since that time frame can be as much as three years in some states but as short as one year in others, it’s best to seek legal advice as soon after the event as possible.


What About Personal Injury Claims Against Government Entities?

The statute of limitations that applies when you are seeking redress from a government entity is usually different from seeking compensation from an individual or private entity. In most instances, you will have a shorter period of time to file your claim. It could be a matter of weeks or months rather than years. For this reason, you definitely want to seek legal counsel as quickly as possible if you believe a government entity is responsible for the injury.

Whether you are filing a claim against a local, state, or federal entity, you could have as little as 30 days to submit the claim. The time limit may be as much as 120 days. To make the matter more complicated, some states specify different time frames based on whether you are seeking damages from a town or city versus a state agency. For example, you may have 120 days to file a claim against a city but only 30 days to file a claim against a state agency.

The bottom line is that you should engage the services of a personal injury attorney as soon after the event as possible. The attorney will determine the time limit that applies to your case and aid in preparing the claim. In the best-case scenario, the matter can be resolved quickly.