In the event of a personal injury, it is best to take action promptly. The longer you delay filing a lawsuit, the lower your odds will be of recovering sufficient damages. As such, it’s best to file ASAP.
Statute of Limitations
First of all, virtually all personal injury lawsuits are subject to a time limit known as their statute of limitations. For Illinois lawsuits, this time limit is usually two years, meaning you have two years from the time of your accident to file a claim.
Past that point, your case is almost definitely going to get thrown out of court, which destroys any chance you’d have of recovering damages through settlement or court order. The defendant has no reason to offer any settlement at all since the threat of a court trial would be completely empty.
It’s worth noting that there are some cases—such as if you were under 18 at the time of your accident or if medical malpractice was involved—that could extend the statute of limitations. However, these cases are the exception rather than the rule, and even if they do apply, it’s best not to delay filing.
In connection with the statute of limitations, you need to give your attorney time to prepare for your case. No attorney will take on a case unless they deem it viable, i.e. if there’s a good chance you can win and recover enough damages to make pursuing it worthwhile.
Because of this, your attorney will need some time before the statute of limitations expires to analyze the facts surrounding your case to see whether it’s viable. Additionally, it may take some time to identify who is actually liable for your injury. As such, it’s in your best interest to file as soon as you can before time runs out.
Deterioration of Evidence
One of the reasons for the statute of limitations is to make sure any evidence you provide is as current as possible. Material evidence tends to deteriorate or get lost over time, and the memories of witnesses will fade as well. Even within the statute of limitations, two years can still be a long time for some types of evidence. To make sure you have as much proof as possible to support your case, you need to file your lawsuit promptly.
Strengthening Your Case
Finally, filing a claim promptly shows that you’re taking your case seriously. It shows that there is a real need for you to recover damages, whereas putting it off may make it seem less serious. Delaying legal action also cuts into the preparation time your attorney would have and may mean you have a weaker argument on your side, ultimately diminishing your odds of recovering what you deserve for your injury.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney ASAP
One of the first steps to filing a personal injury case is to talk to a qualified attorney. They’ll get the process started with filing your lawsuit, represent you during settlement negotiations, and guide you through each phase of the process.
If you have been injured in an accident, contact Hart David Carson LLP today to get started.