Car accidents are common all throughout the country. Injuries can range from minor to severe, and sometimes these accidents can be fatal. When you’re involved in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to collect monetary compensation through an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit in Gulfport. There are steps you need to take after the accident to increase your chance of success, and claims must be filed within a certain period of time. It’s important to know this information so you don’t lose out on compensation you deserve. 

Statute of Limitations

The deadline by which you must file your car accident claim is known as the statute of limitations. If you fail to file your claim within that period of time, your case will almost certainly be dismissed, and you will receive nothing. In most car accident claims in Mississippi, you have 3 years from the date of the accident to file your claim. 

Exceptions To The Statue of Limitations 

There are some exceptions to this deadline, including, but not limited to, the following:

Discovery Rule

One of the most common exceptions to the statute of limitations is known as the discovery rule. If you were in a car accident and your injuries don’t manifest until after the statute of limitations has expired, you might be able to file a claim still. In this case, the statute of limitations is 3 years from the date that you discovered the injury or should have reasonably discovered it. This could end up extending the deadline quite a bit. 

Under 21

If the victim of a car accident is under the age of 21, the statute of limitations will not begin until they turn 21 years old. Then the victim will have 3 years from the date they turn 21 to file their claim. This means that if someone is injured in a car accident at the age of 15, they have 9 years to file a personal injury claim against the responsible party. 

The Importance Of Initiating Your Claim Early

While you have 3 years from the date of your injury or the date you discovered your injury to file a claim, it’s always a good idea to start the process as soon as possible. Three years sounds like a long time, but the longer you wait, the harder it will be to collect all relevant evidence to prove your case. 

If there were witnesses to your accident, you should get their name and contact information and speak with them, or have your lawyer speak with them, as soon as possible. If you wait too long, it’s possible that you will never be able to locate the witnesses. Even if you can locate them, it’s less likely that they will be able to accurately recall what happened in the accident.

Another important reason to begin the process as soon as possible is to recover any video footage. If there is a recording of the accident that can show that you weren’t at fault, this would be significant for your case. Recordings from city cameras, home doorbell cameras, and footage from convenience stores are often automatically deleted after a certain period of time. If you don’t contact the individuals regarding video footage until months or years after the accident, it’s highly unlikely that you will ever be able to recover the footage. If someone doesn’t know they need to preserve the evidence, it will get deleted inadvertently. 

If you were involved in a car accident and need help initiating a claim or have any other questions, contact our Gulfport car accident lawyers today to set up a free consultation.