Five Important Legal Deadlines to Remember After a Car Accident
Being in a car accident can be a terrible experience. Your injuries may change your way of life, keep you from working, and prevent you from doing the things you love. You may lose your mode of transportation while your car is being fixed or replaced. Because you want to resolve all of these matters as quickly as possible after an accident, it is important to keep in mind five important legal deadlines to remember after a car accident.
First, if the car accident was someone else’s fault, it is important to know that you must file a lawsuit for compensation a certain amount of time after the accident occurs or else you will lose the right to seek compensation. Most folks we represent are not interested in filing a lawsuit, but they see that the other driver’s insurance company fails to provide fair compensation and drags the process out. Then, before they know it, they need to file a lawsuit or else accept the insurance company’s low-ball offer. Determining the statute of limitations for an injury claim can be difficult, as it may depend on a number of factors, such as the age of the injured person, that can impact the date the statute of limitations expires.
Second, a personal injury claim that is against the government may have notice periods in addition to statutes of limitation, and failure to follow the notice period requirements can also prevent your claim from going forward. In Virginia, claims against the Commonwealth or an agency of the Commonwealth cannot proceed unless a very specific notice is given to certain government officials within one year of the accident. And, if the claim is against a local government or its agency, the notice will usually need to be given within six months of the accident.
Third, you need to notify your car insurance company of the accident. Hopefully the other driver who caused the accident will have enough insurance coverage to pay for all of your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. But, it may be the case that you will need to rely upon your own uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage if the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance.
Fourth, if your car accident and injury occurred while you were at work, you may be entitled to worker’s compensation benefits for the injury and for your missed time from work. To claim those benefits, however, it is essential that you provide notice to your employer soon after the accident occurs. Otherwise, you will lose the right to seek benefits.
Fifth, if you have been in an accident, it is important to act quickly to obtain as much evidence as possible about the claim. Call the police, who will investigate the matter and issue a report with their findings. You’ll also need help identifying any witnesses to the accident and obtaining their contact information and statements. Memories fade over time and evidence can be lost, so it is important to take steps to protect this information as much as possible after an accident occurs.
If you have been injured in a car accident, it is important that you take the steps necessary to preserve your claim and your right to compensation. Contact an experienced Charlottesville, VA personal injury lawyer today for more information.
Thanks to our friends and co-contributors at MartinWren, P.C. for their insight into car accident and personal injury practice.