Many people do not recognize that they do have a limited amount of time to take action and file a claim for personal injury. Individuals that suffer loss due to the negligent actions of another person or company need to take action right away to protect their right to obtain compensation for their losses. It is important to recognize that, while you do have time to gather all of your loss information, you need to begin the claims process sooner rather than later.
If you have suffered personal injury, do not settle with the insurance company right away. Instead, contact our West Virginia personal injury lawyers to discuss your case during a free consultation.
What Is the Statute of Limitations?
The good news is that you do have some time. In West Virginia, you have two years to file most types of negligence claims. This includes incidents such as car accidents or a slip and fall case. You also have two years to file claims for wrongful death, assault, battery, product liability losses, and strict liability. You may be able to file a personal injury claim for defamation if it has been no more than a year since the incident occurred. It is important to understand that this statute of limitations in West Virginia should motivate you to contact an attorney – but not necessarily settle your case with an insurance agency right away.
Why Can’t You Just Settle Your Personal Injury Case with the Insurance Company?
You can, but chances are good you will not receive the full compensation owed to you. Personal injury claims can become more extensive and expensive as time goes on. Most insurers want to hurry up and settle the claim as quickly as possible to avoid paying more. For example, you may have been in a car accident and suffered a broken bone. Initially, your medical expenses may only include setting the bone. But, over the next six months, you may need another surgery. You may need rehabilitation. You may be out of work permanently if it does not heal. Settling too soon limits your ability to cover all of these losses.
When Does the Two Years Begin?
The two-year statute of limitations begins right at the time of the incident in most situations. In some scenarios, you may not know of the injury or loss right away. In this case, your two-year time frame begins as soon as you become aware or at the point where the court believes you should have become aware of the loss. This is called the discovery rule. For minors, their two year period does not start immediately. Rather, minors, if they are the injured party, will have their two years begin starting the year they turn 18. In this case, then, most minor personal injury claims will expire by the time the individual reaches the age of 20.
What Should You Do If You Have Suffered a Loss?
You may not be sure you have the right to file a claim for personal injury. Many people don’t recognize this initially. That is why it is important for you to visit an attorney’s office to discuss what happened and to determine if someone else is responsible for your losses. If negligence or careless actions occurred, you may be able to obtain compensation for the losses you have. Many people can have their financial losses paid by the individual’s or company’s insurance policy. This may include losses such as:
- All of your medical bills stemming from the incident
- All of your financial loss from losing property as a result of the incident
- Injury to your reputation
- Loss of income from time that you could not work
- Loss of consortium, such as losses related to companionship, child care, or other services provided to you by others
- Emotional distress and or pain or suffering losses
Keep in mind West Virginia does not have a specific limit on the damages that you can file a claim for, but you do need to prove the loss. You will also need to file reasonable claims for all types of non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
Do not let the statute of limitations in West Virginia expire for your personal injuries. Instead, contact our team today to discuss what happened and what can be done to help you recover your losses.
Schedule a Free Consultation to Discuss Your Personal Injury Case
Don’t let too much time pass before filing your personal injury case. Our team of experienced personal injury attorneys in West Virginia can help. Call us now to schedule a free initial consultation – we’ll even come to your home or hospital if you cannot come to us. Call Johnstone & Gabhart LLP at 877-416-5457 or fill out the form online and our team will return your call.