Each state has its own unique statute of limitations for personal injury after a car accident, so you should check the laws in your state to find out how long you have to file a lawsuit after a car accident.
You must submit a complete complaint to a court in your area, citing your desire to charge a liable party for your losses within the state’s statute of limitations. Otherwise, your case will be dismissed without consideration.
All About States’ Statutes of Limitations
As mentioned, each state has its own statute of limitations. You will have from the date of your accident through that statute to file a complaint, or else you likely will not be able to pursue compensation for your losses.
State statutes for personal injury and property damage lawsuits related to a car accident range from two years to 10 years, depending on the kind of lawsuit it is and where a person files the lawsuit.
The Process of Crafting a Complaint
You may be wondering what goes into a complaint and how long on average does it take to compile one?
Complaints are documents describing the accident as it took place, what you lost as a result of that accident, the identity of the party you believe to be liable for your losses, and what compensation you believe you may be owed as a result of that party’s behavior.
A car accident lawyer in your area can help you bring together a complaint within your state’s statute of limitations. To get started, you will want to gather evidence as it exists at the scene of the accident and use this evidence to establish a liable party. Liability, of course, will vary based on your state’s understanding and enaction of fault on the road. While gathering evidence, however, you can bring together identify data including:
- Police reports from the accident scene
- Photos of the accident scene
- Insurance claims filed by all parties involved in the accident
- Dashcam footage or other applicable footage from street cameras or bystanders’ cellphones detailing the accident
- Eyewitness accounts of the accident
- Physical data, including skid marks, busted tires, or signs of damage on your car and the car of the liable party
Calculating Your Compensation
Your complaint must include calculations detailing what compensation to which you think you may be entitled to because of another driver’s poor behavior on the road. Your avenues for compensation can vary based on the severity of your accident, but they can include:
- The cost of replacing or repairing property damaged in the accident, including land, accessories on your land, and your car.
- The cost of replacing or repairing personal property within your vehicle that was damaged during the accident.
- Any medical expenses you endured before filing for compensation.
- Any medical expenses that doctors or equivalent professionals believe you may have to consider to restore your quality of life.
- The cost of any health aids needed to restore your previous quality of life, whether temporary or permanent.
- The cost of any prescription medications you need to control your post-accident pain or otherwise restore your previous quality of life.
- The cost of physical therapy, should you need it to restore your previous quality of life.
- The cost of psychological counseling to deal with the mental fallout of the accident.
- Compensation for undue pain and suffering because of the accident.
- Compensation for lost wages while recovering from an accident in a hospital or at home.
- Compensation for lost opportunities to work.
- Compensation for wrongful death, if applicable, and affiliated funeral and burial costs.
You may also have additional avenues available to you based on legislation established in your state or on unique environmental factors that may have contributed to the accident. For example, if the driver in the other vehicle was intoxicated at the wheel, you may be able to file a suit citing both negligence and deliberate failure to meet your state’s statute of care for other drivers, resulting in punitive charges against the liable party.
A Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You Submit a Complaint within Your State’s Statute of Limitations
If you find yourself in a car accident, you will need time to recover physically and mentally from your experience. An attorney can help you answer, “How long do I have to file a lawsuit after a car accident?” and guide you through this complicated time. They also can help you establish evidence in any case you wish to bring to court against a party liable for your losses.
Together, you can pursue what compensation you may be owed without missing the deadline by which you need to have your complaint addressed.
The team with Ben Crump Law, PLLC, makes it easy for you to better understand the legal ins and outs of filing a suit against a liable party. To start building your case, you can contact a car accident lawyer to schedule a free consultation.