How Long You Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit

Car Accident Lawsuit

Whether you were in a car accident yesterday or five years ago, you may be wondering if it’s possible for you to file a lawsuit against the other driver or another party involved. The good news is you do have some time in most cases. The bad news is that time doesn’t last forever. The following breaks down how long you have to file a lawsuit for a car accident.

The Statute of Limitations

Though it varies from state to state, the statute of limitations puts a restriction on the time between your car accident and the deadline for filing a lawsuit. A typical statute of limitations is two years, though your state may require a little longer or a little shorter amount of time. If you have missed the statute of limitations, you’ll probably want to get in touch with a car accident lawyer as soon as you can.

Exceptions to the Rule

Just like many things in life, there are a few exceptions to the rule. For example:

  • Minors – If the individual planning to file a lawsuit was a minor at the time of the accident, he or she has until his or her 18th birthday plus the time of the statute in that state. For example, if the state in which the minor lives has a statute of limitations of two years, and he or she is 14 at the time of the accident, there would be a six-year limit; Four years until the teen turns 18, plus two years for the actual statute of limitations.
  • Mentally Incapacitated – If someone involved in an accident is in a coma or otherwise mentally incapacitated for a time, the statute of limitations would not begin until a doctor deems him or her competent enough to understand what happened. For example, say someone lives in a state with a two-year statute of limitations. If that person went into a coma immediately after being hit and didn’t wake up for nine months, the time limit for filing a lawsuit would be two years and nine months, assuming the doctor deemed him or her competent upon waking up.
  • Public Entities – Sometimes there are tighter laws regarding public entities and car accidents. For example, if someone is hit by a city bus, he or she may only have three or four months to file the claim.

Contacting an Attorney

Every situation is different and requires a fresh set of eyes and a real legal understanding of the statute of limitations. If you were in a car accident, contact your attorney, like an auto accident lawyer in Tampa, FL from Jeff Murphy Law, today to receive the help you deserve.

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