How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim Compensation for Your Injuries?
After a serious car accident, it can be difficult to return to normal life. Between repairing your car, seeking medical treatment for your injuries, and recovering from those injuries, the days and weeks after a car crash can be incredibly taxing.
When an insurance company fails to cooperate or offer adequate compensation, that stress is only compounded. While it might seem like taking legal action will only add to your to-do list, the truth is that it can be extremely beneficial to have a lawyer fighting on your behalf.
Rather than going it alone and trying to take on the insurance company by yourself, working with a lawyer allows you to take advantage of their skills and resources and rest assured knowing you are being expertly represented.
Texas Statute of Limitations
However, you do not have an unlimited amount of time to take legal action. Under Texas law, injured parties have two years to bring a lawsuit against the negligent party or their insurance company.
While two years might seem like a long time, it can pass quickly. If it does and you have yet to sue for the compensation you deserve, you will most likely be left shouldering the financial burden of the accident on your own. To keep that from happening it is advised to seek legal counsel as soon after the accident as practically possible.
Hire a Lawyer as Soon as Possible After a Car Wreck
There are many reasons why it is wise to hire a lawyer as soon as possible after an accident.
Not only can a lawyer get the ball rolling in discussing compensation with the other party and their insurance company, but a lawyer can also:
- Interview witnesses: In order to determine what happened and who was at fault, it might be necessary for your lawyer to interview witnesses. Their memories and the testimony they give will be more accurate and reliable if they speak with your lawyer soon after the accident.
- Gather evidence: The scene where the accident occurred can hold clues about who was at fault. Weather conditions, road construction, and even skid marks can contribute to who was at fault for the accident. As time passes those pieces of evidence can change or fade away. If your attorney is able to start working on the case right after the accident there is a greater chance they will have access to all available evidence.
- Obtain video footage of the accident: If a nearby traffic camera or privately owned surveillance system caught your accident on video, your lawyer might be able to get their hands on a copy of it if they are able to begin the investigation soon after the accident. Footage isn’t stored forever and might be erased if too much time has elapsed.
Essentially, the earlier your lawyer can get started on your case, the better the case you will have. Your lawyer will then be able to use the witness testimony and evidence he or she has gathered as leverage against the other party or their insurance company, forcing a favorable settlement.
What Damages Can You Seek?
As your lawyer reconstructs the scene of the accident and determines who was at fault, he or she will also begin to get an idea of the types of damages you can seek. Generally speaking, there are two categories of damages you might be entitled to, including economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages refers to more tangible losses, such as:
- Medical bills
- Physical therapy
- The cost of repairing your car
- The cost of a rental car
- Lost wages
Non-economic damages, refers to less tangible things, like:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Non-economic damages can sometimes be harder to quantify but they are no less real. If you were severely injured in a car accident you could be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages.