Sometimes, it can take you a while after a car accident to realize the extent of your injuries. Maybe you didn’t think it was worth it to file a personal injury claim initially and have since changed your mind. The good news is that, depending on how much time has passed since the accident, you can likely still seek compensation. Accident lawyers in Houston, TX are an excellent resource for information on deadlines pertaining to claims and lawsuits.
I Was Injured Several Months Ago But I Haven’t Recovered: Is It Too Late to File a Claim?
An injury that seemed like no big deal at the time could end up resulting in more medical expenses and more time off work than you expected. You may even find yourself withdrawing from activities you enjoy in order to recover.
As long as you decide to file your claim within two years of the accident, you are within the statute of limitations. In some cases, the statute of limitations may be extended to accommodate injuries that masked themselves for a period of time.
What Is the Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations is the amount of time you have to file a claim before your case becomes void. The statute of limitations varies depending on the type of case you have and the state where you need to file the claim. In Texas, personal injury cases have a two-year statute of limitations.
Why Do Some Injuries Take Time to Become Apparent?
Waiting to file a personal injury claim is common among people who are injured in car crashes. The adrenaline our bodies produce in times of extreme stress can cause injuries to go undetected until the initial shock has worn off. For that reason, many people decline to go to the ER because they don’t believe they have been hurt.
The recovery process can be unpredictable, and some bodies take longer to heal than others. While it is always best to talk with a lawyer about filing a claim immediately, in some cases, lawyers actually advise their clients to hold off on seeking compensation until treatment is completed. Giving yourself time to understand the total cost of your injuries can result in a higher settlement.
Reach Out to Accident Lawyers in Houston, TX As Soon as You Can
Many people make the mistake of assuming they are too late to file a claim for a car accident injury. By not contacting an attorney, you could miss out on an opportunity to collect thousands of dollars.
Even if the statute of limitations has expired, you could have medical reasons to argue that you did not realize you were injured until months after the accident occurred. As soon as you decide you want to pursue compensation, reach out to legal experts who understand the nuances of personal injury laws.
What Evidence Will Your Attorney Need in a Personal Injury Case?
Starting the claim submission process months after an accident occurred can be more challenging than building your case right away, but the best personal injury attorneys have experience jumping into the process at every phase.
In the best-case scenario, you created footage of the scene of the accident and also went to the ER, initiating a record of your injury. Maybe you even had a chance to get the contact information of witnesses. However, even without these sources of evidence, an attorney can often still conduct a thorough investigation. He or she might draw on:
Surveillance Footage and Expert Testimonies
Whether or not you took your own footage of the accident, your lawyer might look into obtaining any available surveillance footage. Getting surveillance footage allows you to present documentation of the accident occurring in real-time. Working with an accident reconstruction expert can further illuminate events that led up to the crash, hopefully implicating the other driver.
Your Medical Records
Your attorney will ask to see any records pertaining to your condition, whether you started your treatment immediately after the accident or months later. He or she will likely want to see records from before the crash occurred to demonstrate that your current injuries were the result of the crash.
If you had a preexisting condition when the crash occurred, your lawyer will look into evidence that the condition had stabilized before the accident. You will then be able to argue that the other driver caused new injuries that were not related to the preexisting condition or that the accident aggravated a preexisting condition that would have been less severe otherwise.
Your Financial Records
In addition to your medical records, documents pertaining to your normal income can help you pursue lost wages. If you took time away from your job, your lawyer will need to establish when you stopped going to work and how much money you lost as a result. He or she may want to work with an accountant and even an economist if”
- You sustained a permanent disability
- You have self-employment income
- Your work is seasonal
What Can You Do to Maximize Your Compensation?
Seek Medical Attention and Take Care of Yourself
You should see a doctor as soon as you realize your injuries need care, even if a considerable amount of time has passed since the crash. By waiting to address your condition, you risk the defense arguing that the severity of your injuries increased as a result of your neglect. For the same reason, you should always follow the doctors’ orders when it comes to caring for your injuries at home.
Keep a Journal
In a personal injury case, there are two main types of compensatory damages that you can pursue. Economic damages like medical expenses and lost wages have a clear monetary value that can be understood by adding up the bills and calculating the missed income. Noneconomic damages like emotional distress and physical pain are subjectively based on your personal experience of the accident. Courts are instructed to use their judgment when assigning a value to noneconomic damages.
Keeping a journal can help you remember details of the accident, such as when you started to experience pain and what enjoyable activities you missed out on. Your journal can also provide a valuable record of the anxiety and uncertainty the accident caused. This information can help your lawyer guide you on how to pursue noneconomic damages.
Tell Your Lawyer About Any Previous Statements You Made
When you have a pending personal injury case, it is important to be discreet about posting on social media, conversing with the other driver, and revealing information to representatives of his or her insurance company. Any public or recorded statements you make can be used as evidence against your case.
If you waited several months before you contacted an attorney, you may have had time to discuss the accident with other parties. Disclosing all of your previous statements to your attorney gives him or her the chance to do damage control and formulate counter-arguments.
Our Lawyers Know Healing Takes Time and Money
Recovering from an accident is a process that is different for everyone. The more compensation you receive for your injuries, the easier it will be to afford medical expenses and time off work. To discuss your injury with accident lawyers in Houston, TX, contact Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner.