When to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Technically, a personal injury lawsuit can be filed any time after an accident has occurred involving the negligence of another party. So, just when should you consider filing a lawsuit? Generally, if the incident was minor, filing a lawsuit is a last resort. Below, we explore the topic of deciding when to file a personal injury lawsuit since there are several factors that go into making a decision about taking this step.

when to file personal injury lawsuit

See If You Can Get a Fair Settlement First

Personal injury claims and lawsuits are different, although both of these options are intended to help you receive fair compensation for injury-related damages. Since most personal injury cases are resolved with a settlement, it’s often advised that the first step taken involve filing a claim in order to determine if a fair settlement can be obtained. If you opt to pursue a claim, this process involves the at-fault party’s insurance company. The role of a personal injury lawyer in this situation is to negotiate a fair settlement with the claims adjuster for the insurance company.

If Settlement Efforts Fail, a Lawsuit Becomes an Option

Typically, a personal injury lawsuit is filed when efforts to reach a mutually agreeable settlement are unsuccessful. This type of breakdown sometimes occurs for the following reasons:

  • There is a disagreement over the severity of the injuries.
  • The claims adjuster denies their insured party was at fault.
  • An acceptable middle ground with the settlement amount cannot be found.

A personal injury lawsuit is filed against the at-fault person. But before you take this action, consider the expenses associated with filing a lawsuit and the time and effort involved to prepare for this type of civil litigation.

Be Mindful of Important Deadlines

With a personal injury matter, you must file a claim or go forward with a lawsuit within a specific period of time. This is referred to as the statue of limitations. If you fail to file a lawsuit before the deadline, you will forfeit your right to seek compensation through a settlement or via a court award. There may be some exceptions, but generally deadlines related to personal injury matters are fairly firm.

The clock starts ticking once your injury occurs, so it’s important to be aware of the personal injury statute of limitations that applies in Illinois. However, the at-fault party’s insurance company is under no legal obligation to remind you of personal injury deadlines.

How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

A personal injury lawyer can be a valuable resource during the initial negotiation phase. An attorney can also let you know if a settlement offer is fair, or if it’s best to explore your options with litigation. Lawyers also know how to keep track of deadlines and properly prepare for court if a settlement cannot be reached.

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