Understanding the statute of limitations on suing for a car accident is critical for your case. It can take time to deal with the aftermath of a car accident, especially when it comes to healing from serious injuries. You may be facing months or even years of recovery while also contending with disruptions such as the inability to work or take care of your family.
You may be entitled to compensation if the negligence of another caused the accident. However, you have limited time to take legal action.
Speaking to a lawyer promptly is of the utmost importance. Colombo Law can explain the statute of limitations on suing for a car accident and ensure that your rights are exercised in a timely fashion.
For a FREE case review, call 304-599-4229 today. Our car accident lawyers serve clients in Morgantown and throughout West Virginia.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
Put simply, a statute of limitations is a time limit placed on a particular legal action. Most civil and criminal litigation is subject to a statute of limitations that determines how much time may pass before the action is barred by law.
Statutes of limitations serve a practical purpose: Evidence may be difficult or impossible to find after too much time has elapsed, making it challenging to prove guilt or liability. They also prevent the courts from being bogged down by unreasonably delayed litigation.
The length of a particular statute of limitations differs on a state-by-state basis and depends largely on the severity of the action or crime. For example, in West Virginia, the statute of limitations for a misdemeanor is typically 1 year but there is no statute of limitations for most felonies.
How Long Do I Have to Sue After a Car Accident?
The statute of limitations on suing for a car accident in West Virginia is governed by the personal injury statute of limitations, which is 2 years. This is a fairly standard time limit for personal injury claims, with most states imposing a limitation period of between 2–4 years.
In most cases, the 2-year clock starts ticking from the date of the accident and continues until 2 years have elapsed. At this point, any attempt to file a lawsuit against another party for the accident is likely to be denied by the courts.
Are There Any Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations?
Yes, there are a couple of exceptions to West Virginia’s personal injury statute of limitations. The first is if the injured individual is a minor, as minors are considered incapable of undertaking legal action on their own. In these situations, the individual would have 2 years from the date of their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit.
The second exception applies if the injured individual has a legal disability that renders them unable to exercise their legal rights. Should the disability be relieved, the plaintiff would have 2 years from the date capacity is regained to file suit.
No matter the situation, it is important to note that you should never delay pursuing compensation after an accident—even if you believe one of these exceptions applies to you. There is no guarantee that you will be granted an exception, and the stakes are simply too high to risk it.
Do I Need to File a Lawsuit?
Not necessarily. You may be able to resolve your claim out of court through negotiations with the other driver’s insurance company. This may be a quicker, easier solution compared to pursuing litigation provided the insurance company is willing to provide a fair settlement offer.
Unfortunately, the insurer is unlikely to agree to a fair settlement quickly. Offers usually start low in the hopes that you will accept before realizing how much your case is worth. In some cases, the insurance company may deny liability altogether and refuse to compensate you at all.
These scenarios demonstrate the importance of pursuing compensation sooner than later. Giving your attorney the chance to prepare a case and negotiate with the insurance company before filing a lawsuit—which can take longer and comes with some degree of uncertainty—is a wise course of action.
Get Help with Your Car Accident Claim
Having worked with countless accident victims, we understand how difficult it can be to manage the aftermath of a serious accident. It is easy to miss the statute of limitations on suing for a car accident because you are so busy with all of the other burdens you and your loved ones are facing.
Unfortunately, once the statute of limitations expires, you will likely lose the right to compensation forever. Don’t let this happen to you. Colombo Law will talk to you for FREE and immediately begin preparing your case.
With our No Fee Promise, you don’t pay anything until we obtain a favorable result on your behalf. Our firm takes on the challenges of gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, calculating damages, and negotiating with insurance companies. If it becomes necessary to sue, we also ensure that a lawsuit is filed within the statute of limitations.
There is no time to lose. With our 99% win rate, your car accident case is in good hands. Contact Colombo Law today.