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Why Time Really Matters in a Physical Injury Claim

May 29, 2024 
by LA Injury Group
Why Time Really Matters in a Physical Injury Claim

Physical injury litigation is governed by a key legal concept known as the statute of limitations. This law sets a deadline within which claims must be filed; understanding this concept can have significant ramifications on your case's results; it is therefore crucial that you seek guidance from a top physical injury lawyer during this process.

In this article, we provide you with several reasons why timing matters when filing such a case.

Understanding the Statute of Limitation

The statute of limitation is a law that sets the maximum time after an event within which you can file your lawsuit. This is usually pegged with respect to jurisdiction, and sometimes with the type of claim in reference. Therefore, it’s important to understand the rules within your area to avoid issues in the future and ensure you get fair compensation.

The window period within which to file such claims varies from state to state in the US, and it normally ranges from two to four years. In California, you get a maximum of two years, usually calculated from the date of the accident or discovery.

The Importance of Time in Physical Injury Claim

Time is an important factor when filing a lawsuit for personal injuries. Here are some of the reasons.

1. Evidence Preservation

    Evidence is important in the presentation of facts. It may include photographs showing the scene of the accident, medical documents, statements from witnesses, and reports filed by the police.

    It’s essential to collect enough evidence as soon as possible and present it to the insurance company to validate your suit. If you dilly-dally, the information is most likely to get lost or distorted.

    2. Insurance Claims

    Most claims for personal injuries are usually negotiated between insurance companies and it can either be the at-fault party's provider or your own. Insurance companies generally do not like compensating victims, and they will always look for some tiny details to discredit your suit. Therefore, it's important to adhere to their rules, including timing for filing claims.

    Insurance companies also have different timelines for such cases. So, find out from your insurer the earliest a lawsuit can be filed to ensure you don’t lose out on your compensation due to a missed deadline.

    3. Ensuring Fairness

    Besides allowing you to have fair and just compensation, filing your case on time is also another important contributing factor toward the efficiency of the legal system. This is because it bars people from making stale claims. Without these time constraints in place, legal proceedings could drag on indefinitely causing delays.

    4. Witness Memory

    Human memory tends to obscure some details as days elapse. Therefore, you should collect witness statements immediately after the accident occurs since they can recall exactly how the events happened, making the information more reliable. Additionally, tracing some of the witnesses may be quite difficult since they may have shifted from the areas in which they were based.

    5. Discovery of Injuries

    Some injuries, especially those caused by trauma or internal ones, may not be evident shortly after the accident. The statute of limitation provides you with ample time to undergo a thorough medical examination. With this, you will be able to discover all the injuries, enabling you to obtain adequate medical compensation.

    6. Statutory Changes

    Personal Injury claims laws are subject to change. New rules may be to your advantage and others may disadvantage you when seeking settlement. So, avoid gambling and file your case as soon as possible.

    7. Legal Preparation

    Physical Injury Claim - Accident victims often seek compensation for damages by negotiating with the relevant insurance companies. But, if they don't manage to get to an amicable solution, they may have to go to court.

    The process of preparing for a court case can be quite long, considering that you have to get enough evidence and also work with experts. Getting underway early enough gives you enough time to study the matter and build a strong argument.

    8. Emotional Closure

    After an accident, people tend to look at the physical injuries and forget the emotional part. Just like physical injuries, an accident can seriously dent your emotional health, affecting your quality of life.

    A speedy conclusion of the case gives victims closure and a sense of justice, allowing them to go on with their lives.  Moreover, it can facilitate the physical healing process, allowing them to move on with their lives.

    9. Financial Impact

    Injuries can put a strain on one's finances since medication requires a lot of money. Also, you may have to take some time off work to take care of your health and you could lose your income.

    Filing the lawsuit promptly can help you get compensation quickly, mitigating the financial burdens.

    10. Impact on Settlement

    Filing a lawsuit immediately after an accident puts the at-fault party and the insurance firm under pressure. This can compel them to reach an out-of-court settlement with you at the earliest possible opportunity to avoid the ordeal of the court procedures. Consequently, you may receive a good offer.

    Exemptions from the Statute of Limitation

    The statute of limitations can be tolled, or extended, in some circumstances. Some common examples include:

    1. Fraud

    This law may not apply if the defendant fraudulently concealed, or by another method withheld the existence of the cause of action from the knowledge of the complainant. In such cases, the law begins to apply from the date of discovery of the cause of action by the plaintiff.

    2. Discovery Rule

    California is one of the states that applies the "Discovery Rule," which delays the statute of limitations until all your injuries are discovered. At that time, you will have one year to commence your lawsuit. This is particularly relevant in cases where the injury was not immediately obvious, such as with medical malpractice.

    3. Minority and Mental Incapacity

    The statute of limitation rule will be tolled if the injured party is minor or mentally incapacitated until they reach the legal age or regain capacity. This is because such people don’t fully understand their rights and they may be taken advantage of. 

    Physical Injury Claim FAQs

    Q: What will happen if I don’t meet the statute of limitation deadline?

    A: If you do not file your case within time the court can rule to have your case dismissed. Therefore, you won’t be able to obtain damages for your injuries no matter how severe or how strong your case would have been.

    Q: What should I do if I'm not sure about whether I have a legitimate claim?

    A: If you are unsure about the validity of your case, seek the help of an experienced attorney. They will check the facts of your case and establish if it’s worth arguing.

    Q: Can the timing of medical treatment affect my lawsuit?

    A: Yes, the timing of your medical treatment is very crucial to file a lawsuit for personal injury. This is because it helps establish a direct link between your injuries and the accident.


    Timing plays a role in the verdict on your personal injury lawsuit. So, it’s advisable to file your claim pretty much sooner, depending on the laws within your region. This way, you'll maximize your chances of obtaining fair compensation. You may also contact an LA Injury Group attorney to provide you with guidance and help you avoid making costly mistakes.


    Christina Majaski, Khadija Khartit, Suzanne Kvilhaug.(2024). Statute of Limitations: Definition, Types, and Example as last seen 5/12/2024 @

    Toby Konarzewski. (2021). Why Witness Statements are Essential in a Personal Injury Claim as last seen at 5/12/2024 @ Driscoll, J.D. (2022). California Personal Injury Statute Of Limitations 2024 as last seen at 5/12/2024 @

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