The amount of time you have to sue after a slip and fall depends on the state in which you are filing the personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Usually, before a victim files suit, they attempt to recover compensation through an insurance claim. If negotiations with insurers fail to result in fair compensation, a lawsuit usually serves as the next step in seeking recourse.
It can take time for an insurance company to investigate an accident, consider a claim, and offer a settlement. It also takes time to negotiate with insurers if you do not believe their initial offer fairly compensates you. State laws take this into account, and usually, a statute of limitations allows a victim a couple of years to file a lawsuit. If you do not file within the allotted time frame, you risk losing your right to take legal action against a negligent property owner who caused your slip and fall accident.
The Danger of Slip and Fall Accidents
Slipping and falling may seem like a minor accident, but in some cases, it can lead to life-threatening injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls account for over 800,000 emergency room visits each year and pose a unique threat to the elderly.
A senior citizen risks suffering a hip fracture in a fall, which can result in temporary or permanent disability. Elderly adults do not heal at the same rate as their younger peers. Their bones are frailer, and their immune systems may no longer function as well as they once did. If a person has any pre-existing medical conditions, a fracture from a fall can significantly complicate their health, and the recovery period may last longer.
Another serious injury that can result from a fall is traumatic brain injury (TBI). According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes (NINDS), a severe TBI can lead to disabilities, such as cognitive impairment and difficulty communicating. A severe injury like TBI can lower a person’s quality of life if they survive the traumatic incident.
Assessing Your Losses Can Take Time
After a slip and fall accident, you want to make sure you receive a medical examination to assess the extent of your injuries. Aside from any emergency medical care you require immediately after the fall, you will want to visit any specialists or follow up with a primary care physician to track your injuries and assess how they might affect you in the future.
The last thing you want to do is accept a settlement amount that does not fully compensate you for ongoing rehabilitative care if you need it. Once you accept an offer from an insurance company, it usually prevents you from taking legal action against the negligent party in the future, should your injuries worsen.
Statutes of Limitations Vary by State
If negotiations with an insurance company do not provide you with a fair financial settlement, you may choose to file a personal injury lawsuit. Most states impose a deadline by which you must file a legal action, beginning from the accident date. This deadline affects how much time you have to sue after a slip and fall.
The deadlines range from one to six years. For example, CCP § 335.1 gives victims in California two years to file a case, while Florida Statutes § 95.11 allows four years from the date of the accident.
You can research your state’s statute of limitations to get a better idea of how long you have to file a personal injury lawsuit. A slip and fall accident lawyer can also help you comply with your state’s deadline.
Seek Help with Ben Crump Law, PLLC
If you recently suffered injuries on someone else’s property, you may wonder how much time you have to sue after a slip and fall. If you choose to take legal action, your state’s statute of limitations determines how long you have.
Keep in mind that an investigation into your accident takes time. You want to give your legal team as much time as possible to build your case and comply with your state’s statute of limitations, which is why it is best to act as soon as possible after an accident.
You do not have to face the legal process alone. You can work with Ben Crump Law, PLLC, to determine your legal options. We can offer a free consultation, and we work on contingency. Give us a call today at 800-959-1444 to speak with a team member.