Life can be unpredictable – and accidents are no exception. An unexpected injury can leave you feeling confused and wondering how to proceed from car accidents to trips, slips, and falls.
In the midst of a difficult situation like this, one of the most important questions you may find yourself asking is, “How long can I sue after an accident?”
Understanding your rights and limits around filing a suit in relation to an accident is essential knowledge for anyone who has experienced such misfortune. Read on to learn everything you need to know about suing after an accident to successfully handle these situations and make informed decisions.
Identifying Negligence for a Potential Lawsuit
Negligence is the act of failing to exercise reasonable care in a situation where someone else may have been harmed or injured. Four elements must be proven to determine if negligence applies in a personal injury lawsuit: duty, breach, causation, and damages.
- You must demonstrate that the person being sued has a legal duty to act reasonably toward you. For example, a doctor must provide an acceptable standard of medical care when treating patients.
- You must prove that the person being sued breached this duty by failing to act with reasonable care. This means that the actions taken by the defendant are not up to the standard of what others in their position would have done in similar circumstances.
- You must prove that the breach of duty caused your injury. This is known as causation and can sometimes be challenging to prove.
- You must show that you suffered damages, or losses, as a result of the injury. These damages can be physical, emotional, or financial.
Once these elements have been proven in court, the defendant can be held liable for negligence. It is important to note that not all personal injuries are due to negligence. It is wise to consult an experienced attorney if you believe someone else’s careless actions caused your injury. They can also guide you on how long after an accident you can sue.
How Long After An Accident Can You Sue For Personal Injury?
In Massachusetts, the general rule is that an injured person must file a lawsuit within three years from the date of their accident. This is known as the “statute of limitations” and applies to all personal injury claims in Massachusetts under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 260 § 2A.
If the suit is not filed within three years, a plaintiff may lose their right to file a lawsuit for compensation. However, some exceptions to this rule can extend the amount of time you have to file a claim.
For example, if the injured party was under 18 at the time of the accident, the statute of limitations will be extended until they turn 18. Additionally, if the injury was not discovered until after the accident, the statute of limitations may be extended to three years from the date the injury was discovered.
It is important to note that these are complicated legal issues, and each case is different. If you have been injured in an accident, seeking legal advice as soon as possible is highly recommended. An experienced personal injury lawyer can advise on how to proceed with your claim and ensure you don’t miss any important deadlines.
Gather Evidence to Support Your Case
Collecting evidence is an integral part of any personal injury case. By gathering the right kind of evidence, you can ensure that your case is heard and you get the compensation you deserve. Here’s how:
- The first step to collecting evidence is to document your injuries immediately after they occur. This includes taking pictures and noting the accident’s date, time, and location.
- If there were any witnesses, it is crucial to get their contact information. They can provide eyewitness accounts of the accident and help support your case.
- Medical records are also essential when it comes to personal injury cases. These will show the extent of your injuries and how they have affected your life. The medical reports should include notes from all your doctors, such as your primary care physician, physical therapist, and specialist.
- Any materials related to the accident should also be collected. This can include the police report, photographs of the scene, and any other pieces of evidence that might support your case.
- If you have sustained economic damages due to your injury, it is important to save proof. This can include invoices, receipts, and other financial documents to back up your compensation claim.
- Ensure you keep a log of how your injury has affected you. This includes both physical pain and emotional distress, as well as lost wages or decreased ability to work due to the injury.
Calculate Damages and Medical Expenses from the Accident
When calculating damages and medical expenses for your personal injury case, you’ll need to know what kind of costs will be covered. Medical bills are the most common type of expense, but there may also be other costs related to the accident, such as lost wages or property damage.
Your lawyer can help you determine which costs should be included in your claim and how much compensation you may be entitled to. In addition to calculating medical expenses, your lawyer will also need to consider the impact of any pain and suffering caused by the accident.
Suppose there is evidence that the defendant’s negligence directly contributed to your injury. In that case, they may be liable for additional damages related to emotional distress or other long-term issues that result from the injury.
A good lawyer will be able to help you determine whether or not these damages should be taken into account when calculating your total compensation package. Finally, the amount you receive in a personal injury case depends on various factors, including the severity of your injury and the complexity of your claim.
Type Of Compensable Damages and How Can You Can Recover Them
When it comes to personal injury cases, there are several types of damages that a victim can recover if they prove their case. These can be broken down into three categories: Economic Damages, Non-Economic Damages, and Punitive Damages.
- Economic Damages: This compensates for any direct financial losses the victim has endured due to their injury. This includes lost wages, medical expenses, property damage, and other out-of-pocket costs associated with an accident or injury.
- Non-Economic Damages: This compensates for the emotional suffering and distress that a victim has experienced due to their injury. This can include pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and other intangible losses.
- Punitive Damages: These are intended to punish a defendant for their negligent or reckless behavior, as opposed to compensating the victim for any losses they may have experienced. These damages are rare and typically only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is particularly egregious.
To recover these types of damages, victims must prove that the defendant was at fault for their injury. This can involve gathering evidence, talking to witnesses, and filing a lawsuit against the defendant.
Get The Help You Need For Your Personal Injury Case
As the premier Personal Injury firm, Fogelman Law Firm understands that dealing with the aftermath of an accident can be difficult and overwhelming. You must know the timeline to file a lawsuit if you’ve been injured in an accident.
While there is an answer to “How long after an accident can I sue,” we are here to provide insight and guidance every step of the way, as each person’s case is unique. What is certain is that if you do not act quickly enough, evidence may be lost or destroyed due to the passing of time.
By recognizing your options and moving forward quickly, you express your rights and defend yourself against restriction periods. If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident and needs help navigating potential litigation, do not hesitate to contact us today for more information. At Fogelman Law Firm, we believe everyone deserves justice.