Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Claims
Filing a personal injury claim can become a complicated endeavor. Insurance companies try their best to delay payment, and when they finally make a settlement offer, it’s typically less than what you need. I understand the stress and confusion that can surround a personal injury claim, especially because there are statutes of limitations in place that put a deadline on when you can file. The key is to act as quickly as you can and to consult a trusted personal injury attorney in your area who can educate you on the statutes that apply to your unique case.
At the Paul Benson Law Firm, my team serves clients throughout Janesville and Beloit, Wisconsin, and neighboring areas such as Rock County. Reach out today for immediate assistance regarding a personal injury claim.
Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims in Wisconsin
The term “statute of limitations” for personal injury cases refers to the specific time period plaintiffs have to file their claims. If you file after the window closes, it’s almost certain that your claim will be completely dismissed. In Wisconsin, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims and lawsuits is three years.
The clock typically starts on the date of your accident, but every case is completely different. There are exceptions in place to acknowledge certain circumstances that could harbor someone from seeking compensation. Needless to say, statutes of limitations can get complex in any state, which is why it’s so important to consult a trusted attorney in your community.
A good rule of thumb is to file a personal injury claim as soon as possible. Nevertheless, the filing does not mean victims must settle right away.
What if I Missed the Deadline?
Missing the filing deadline can automatically lead the responsible party to dismiss the claim. In that case, the only option is to file a lawsuit in court. Unfortunately, defendants and their insurance will use the statute of limitations as a justification to get your lawsuit dismissed or your settlement significantly decreased.
The issue lies in losing leverage in negotiations. Defendants and insurers know they have the upper hand unless extenuating circumstances exist. Consequently, personal injury victims who deserve compensation may have no chance to seek the maximum settlement they need for their injuries.
That being said, I always recommend my clients seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Getting legal representation can help move the claims process along, especially when there is incapacitation or a severe injury involved.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations in Wisconsin
The statute of limitations applies to all personal injury cases. Cases involving negligence (i.e., car accidents) or intent (i.e., assault) carry a three-year window.
However, there are exceptions:
If a person is considered mentally ill or under the age of 18, they are entitled to an additional two years to file a personal injury claim. In these circumstances, the overall window extends to five years.
If the responsible party leaves the state before the claim is filed, the time between the accident and the filing itself will most likely not count toward the three-year window.
Please bear in mind that documenting these circumstances is crucial. Defendants and insurance companies will often act in their best interest and try to get your claim dismissed. Therefore, providing clear evidence like medical reports from doctor visits is extremely helpful in making these exceptions work in your favor.
Reliable and Compassionate Legal Assistance From a Trusted Attorney
Above all, accident victims need a skilled advocate in their corner. That is why a reliable and compassionate personal injury attorney can make a huge difference. Seeking the right legal advice goes beyond technical knowledge. It requires dedication and empathy to fight for the compensation that injured clients truly deserve.
At the Paul Benson Law Firm, I go the extra mile for my clients. I know what it’s like to be an accident victim. Call my office in Janesville, Wisconsin, today to speak with a professional personal injury attorney and set up an initial consultation.