Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident is difficult and overwhelming, to say the least. One minute you are driving, maybe on your way to work, or running an errand, when suddenly your entire life is completely changed in the blink of an eye. So, months after that accident, when should you speak with a lawyer, and is it too late to hire an attorney?
Car accidents cause mental and physical trauma that can take years or even a lifetime to fully recover from. And some of these injuries are only noticeable sometime after the initial accident. It can be weeks or even months until you realize the damage that the car accident has caused your body and your mind.
This is why so many clients ask us, “is it too late to hire an attorney?” In many cases, the answer is no, it’s not too late to hire an attorney unless the statute of limitations has expired on your case.
Statute of Limitations
If the statute of limitations has expired, then, unfortunately, you cannot seek legal action. You can calculate the time from the date of the accident.
The Florida statute of limitations allows you to hire a lawyer within 4 years of the accident.
The Tennessee statute of limitations allows you to hire a lawyer within 1 year of the accident.
Here, you can find a full list of the statute of limitation for car accidents by state.
These dates are used by the courts to determine if too much time has passed since the accident and they will not budge on these timelines for personal injuries cases.
Don’t Wait too Long to Call The Insurance Company
Remember, the statute of limitations refers to the time limit that you have to file a lawsuit. You should speak with your insurance company as soon as possible to file a claim. Most insurance companies require that all claims are filed within a reasonable time following the accident.
Each state varies but for most states, you have about 1 week to report an accident and 2 weeks to seek medical attention following a car accident.
Some Accident MUST be Reported
Though some drivers may consider a fender bender with no damage a harmless accident, there are some cases in which a report must be made. If your car accident meets any of the following requirements, then you must report the accident to the insurance company and/or the police as soon as possible:
- Any injuries whatsoever
- There is more than $500 in property damage
- Any of the drivers is drunk or impaired
- One of the vehicles was a commercial vehicle (work truck etc)
- One of the vehicles was a truck
- Any fatalities
If the car accident you were involved in, includes any of these factors, you must call the police and the insurance company immediately, most likely from the scene.
Can I Still Hire An Attorney?
It is never too late to hire an attorney. You can hire one right now if you want. Just go ahead and get started as much as you can.
If you are wondering is it too late to hire an attorney, then pick up the phone and speak with an injury lawyer directly. You may find that you mention a few details that could open up your case now and change the course of your insurance claim.
Always take the time to talk to an attorney, and don’t decide yourself. You don’t understand the law the same way an accident attorney will so let them be the judge of your case.