How Long After My Injury Should I Wait Before I Hire a Lawyer?
Get An Experienced Chicago Injury Attorney Immediately
If you have suffered an injury due to the negligence of another, it is in your best interest to contact an attorney as soon as possible. While it cannot be helped if you are hospitalized for a period of time after your injury, you can have an attorney begin working on your case while you are still in the hospital, healing and recovering.
Immediate action is required because there are some aspects of your case that are time sensitive. An experienced attorney will be able assess your situation and be able to advise you on how to handle any and all time sensitive issues.
Some Aspects of Your Case That Are Time Sensitive
Every legal claim has a statute of limitations.
There are some time sensitive aspects of injury cases that are universal. Specifically, all cases, no matter what the legal cause of action, have an applicable statute of limitations within which the claim must be brought before the court. The statute of limitations is a limited period of time or window of opportunity in which you have to assert your legal claim against the individual or entity that harmed you. If you do not bring your claim within the statute of limitations, you forfeit your right to initiate a lawsuit at a later time.
Different legal claims have different statute of limitation requirements. For example, the general rule for bringing a medical malpractice suit is that the suit must be brought within two years from the time that the injured patient became aware of the injury, or should have become aware of the injury, and thus the malpractice. Since some injuries due to medical malpractice may take time to manifest or become discovered, there is an upper limit of four years on the window of opportunity in which one can bring a medical malpractice claim. Similarly, most personal injury claims must be brought within two years of the injury. However, some injury claims must be brought within one year. An attorney can determine the statute of limitation that applies to your specific legal claims.
Collection of evidence is often time sensitive.
It is very important to procure an attorney immediately after you are injured so that the attorney can get to work collecting evidence for your case. Evidence is your best weapon during a lawsuit. Evidence carries a lot of weight in court, and sometimes just a single piece of evidence is the lynchpin for winning a case. There are many pieces of evidence that need to be collected soon after the injury occurred in order to preserve it for trial.
If the evidence is not collected and preserved, there is a risk that it will become lost or destroyed. For example, in vehicle accidents, sometimes a video camera or stoplight camera records evidence of an accident. It is common practice for stoplight cameras to record over previously recorded data. If your attorney acts quickly, he or she may be able to acquire a copy of the tape, which might clearly show which party was at fault for the accident. Another example could be evidence of a bicycle accident, such as the clothing, damaged bicycle or helmet of a bicyclist who was hit by a vehicle. The victim may not realize that he or she should refrain from washing or throwing away the clothing he or she wore the day of the accident, but even if the clothes are washed or thrown away, the victim might still have the damaged helmet or bicycle. Consulting with a personal attorney immediately after an accident can at least give the victim some idea of how to preserve evidence that he or she has in his or her possession.