Waiting to File an Injury Claim May Risk Your Ability to Seek Damages

Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on Jan 03, 2020 in Personal Injury

personal injury claim formThe statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim in Oregon is two years from the date of the accident. That may sound like a long time to someone who does not handle lawsuits on a regular basis. However, those two years can fly by, and in some cases an earlier filing deadline may apply.

At Rizk Law, we offer a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable Portland personal injury attorneys to review the status of your potential claim, including determining your specific statute of limitations. If you have a valid case, and you retain our services, you do not pay us anything to represent you unless we first recover compensation on your behalf.

Oregon’s Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents

In Oregon, although the deadline for filing a personal injury claim is typically two years from the date of the accident, there are some exceptions that may apply. However, this statute is generally correct for most claims involving:

  • Injury to a person
  • Wrongful death caused by a public body
  • Uninsured or underinsured motorist claims

Exceptions to the two-year rule may include, but are not limited to:

  • Insurance policies that may contain a “suit limitation” clause beyond one year. Although, we believe these clauses are largely not enforceable, we recommend that you never take a chance
  • Uninsured/underinsured policies that may provide a longer statute of limitations – but this is not true of all policies. In this situation, you would refer to the language of your policy.
  • When a government entity is involved, you must submit a written notice of your intent to pursue a claim within 180 days of the date of your accident

When Does the Clock Start Running?

The statute of limitations typically starts on the day following the date of the accident. However, if the injury was not discovered, or could not have reasonably been discovered, the statute begins to run on the date of discovery.

Oregon’s Rules of Civil Procedure provides a general calculation of when the statute of limitations starts running on personal injury claims by:

  • Excluding the day of the accident
  • Including the last day, but if the last day falls on a holiday, weekend or furlough when the court is closed, include the next day the court is open

For example, if your car accident occurred on January 1, 2020 and the statute of limitations that applies to your case is two years, you begin counting on January 2, 2020. Unless there was a discovery rule or other rule that would apply an exception, the statute of limitations would end on January 1, 2022.

Risks of Waiting to File A Claim

Even if you have the full two years, we do not recommend waiting to file if you want to pursue a claim. Your lawyer needs ample time to investigate the accident, gather supporting evidence and prepare a complaint, if necessary. Other risks of waiting to file a claim may include:

  • Losing evidence – In some areas, surveillance or camera footage may be deleted in as little as 24-72 hours. Once you retain a lawyer, he or she can take steps to obtain and preserve camera footage, business surveillance videos or accident pictures.
  • Making mistakes – Not hiring a lawyer early on often results in unintentional mistakes that can affect the value of your claim, such as giving the insurance company a recorded statement, signing a broad medical release form or accepting a lowball offer.
  • Not allowing enough time to negotiate with the insurance company – It takes time to prepare a demand package to send to the insurance company, as well as negotiating back and forth to reach a settlement agreement.
  • Missing the applicable statute of limitations – If the deadline passes, you may lose any opportunity of recovering damages resulting from an accident.

Contact an Attorney Today

If you were injured in a car accident, contact a qualified personal injury attorney at Rizk Law. We are prepared to review your claim in a free consultation. If you have a valid case, we can tell you what statute of limitations applies in your situation.

We charge no upfront fees, so there is no financial risk to you. You do not pay us to represent you unless we first obtain compensation on your behalf.