Time is Not on Your Side in a Personal Injury Case

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Time is Not on Your Side in a Personal Injury Case

personal injury case time

Time is not on your side in a personal injury case. Find out what three things you should NOT do when you are injured in a car accident.

TRANSCRIPT:

Hi, I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz.

I was asked to do a video about time limits in personal injury cases.
We’ve talked about statutes of limitations. If you have watched our videos and follow what we do, you already know that every state has time limits in which you can file a lawsuit against an at-fault party who caused you personal injuries. Time is not on your side.

Let’s discuss three ways that good people can screw up a good personal injury case:
#1. Taking your time. If you are injured in an accident, you and your attorney have the burden of proof. To establish this, we need to show which party was at fault. We need to be able to show that you have injuries and that the at-fault party caused those injuries. The more time that goes by between the date of the accident and the date on which you first started treatment for your injuries, the less likely it is that I will be able to prove that the injuries came from that accident.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, the last thing that you want to do is wait to get medical attention. You want to get medical attention sooner rather than later. One day, you may have a lawyer like me sitting at counsel table at trial with a jury, and the jury will be wondering why you waited a month, six weeks, or two months to go to the doctor in the first place. They will wonder if you were really injured by the accident. These are legitimate questions.
#2. Reporting the accident. A lot of the cases that we see are things like premises liability cases or slip-and-fall cases. For example, most major retailers have video cameras. The manager on duty must make a report for a slip-and-fall accident and identify any witnesses, if possible. The manager must gather evidence at the time of the accident and preserve that material If you wait to report your slip-and-fall accident to the manager on duty, the witnesses are most likely gone. The video may not be kept on record any longer than a few hours or a day or two. By the time you report the accident, the video may have been overwritten and be permanently gone. By waiting to report the accident to the store, you are creating a situation in which the evidence may be lost. You may need that evidence to make your case.
#3. Waiting to retain a lawyer. We have people contact our office weeks, months, a year after their accidents. If it’s a Delaware accident, you have a two-year statute of limitations. You leave a lawyer a little thin slice of time to meet with you, learn all the facts in your case and file a lawsuit. You are creating a very dangerous situation because your lawyer has to identify all applicable defendants: all people, all companies, all entities, all responsible parties, etc. who caused the dangerous conditions that led to your injuries. That lawyer must file a lawsuit against all those people/companies within the time frame allowed by your state’s statute of limitations. In some states, the time frame is longer; for example, in Maryland, the statute of limitations is three years. The last thing you want to do to a lawyer waits until the last minute, then try and get him to file a lawsuit for you. You are putting him in a very difficult position. You are increasing the likelihood that the lawyer will not be able to identify and file a lawsuit against all responsible parties. If that happens, you may impact your ability to receive fair compensation for your injuries.
If you are the injured person in a personal injury case, remember: time is not on your side. Thanks for watching!

 

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