How long after an accident in which you were injured can you seek legal help?

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How long after an accident in which you were injured can you seek legal help?

It’s been a month since I was in a car accident. I was a passenger and had no serious injuries, although I was rushed to the ER and have a lot of hospital bills. I contacted an attorney but he dropped my case 2 weeks after the accident. He had me see his chiropractor for treatment but stopped since he dropped my case. Now it’s been a month with no treatment and all of a sudden I am contacted by the insurance company for a settlement. Is it too late to seek legal help in this case although there may be no injury since I stopped seeing to the chiropractor?

Asked on July 31, 2014 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

Gregory Abbott / Consumer Law Northwest

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

How long you have depends upon your local state's law and what your theory of legal liability is (negligence, breach of contract, etc.).  Here in Oregon, most auto accident claims are 2 years and I believe that is pretty standard though, as noted, your particular state may be different.  Regardless, it will be at least a year and probably longer.  I DO NOT recommend even talking with the insurance company, let alone settling, without a thorough review with a local attorney.  If the first is not interested, you may want to keep shopping until you find one who is.  You are likely to be able to at least recover all your medical-related costs, any lost wages, and something for your pain/sufferring/inconvenience.  Do understand that to the extent your own insurance has paid part or all of your medical bills, you will be required to reimburse them out of any settlement unless the other insurance company reimburses them directly so be sure to take that into account when considering any settlement offer.  Good luck.


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