Each state sets its own legal timeline for how long plaintiffs have to file a personal injury case. In the state of Missouri, you have five years to file your personal injury claim. Unfortunately, some people think that this deadline means they can take their time contacting an attorney, but time is of the essence.
Even though you have five years, you should seek medical attention for your injuries within 14 days of your accident or injury, and, ideally, you should reach out to an attorney within a month of your accident or injury. There are many reasons why it is advantageous to you to contact injury lawyers to start on your case right away.
Get Your Damages From A Car Accident Claim Faster
The sooner you reach out to an attorney and get started on your case, the sooner you can receive the damages you need to cover your medical bills and other expenses related to the accident. There are two types of damages that you can potentially receive in a car accident claim: economic damages and noneconomic damages. A personal injury attorney can help you recover economic damages from your financial losses, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Future lost earning potential
- Car repairs or replacement
Noneconomic damages compensate you for your pain and suffering, emotional distress, and mental anguish. Car accidents don’t just cause physical injuries. They have emotional side effects that can ruin a person’s quality of life. Most personal injury attorneys seek to settle claims as quickly as possible for their clients to move forward and put the accident behind them.
Strengthen Your Case
The sooner that you file your claim, the stronger your case. Auto insurance companies are not altruistic. They are businesses focused on making money. Therefore, they will use cost-saving measures to reduce how much they have to pay in damages.
Liability and the amount you are paid in your settlement are determined based on the evidence. If you delay seeking treatment for your injuries or talking to an attorney about your rights, then this implies to the insurance company that you were not injured as much as you claim you were. They will question why you took so long to seek medical help and an attorney.
Evidence Deteriorates Over Time
Another reason why you need to file your car accident claim immediately is that evidence deteriorates over time. Eyewitness testimony becomes unreliable. Tire marks eventually fade. Grass or foliage that was pulled up from the ground during the accident regrows. If you decide to file your claim several weeks later, then there won’t be much use in going to the accident scene to find evidence. The lawyers for the insurance company can argue that tire marks that you take pictures of after the fact are from another incident. Although it is not impossible to win a personal injury claim months after it happened, it is extremely rare and takes much more effort.
Most personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation to potential new clients. There is no obligation or risk if you reach out to an attorney today. But there is a great risk if you delay any longer.