According to Wisconsin State Statute 893.54, you have three years to sue for damages in personal injury cases including car crashes. However, the same statute has an exception for wrongful death caused by car crashes. Legal action must be taken within two years for wrongful death cases resulting from car crashes. 

Underage and Mentally-Ill Victims Have Additional Time

The two- or three-year statute of limitations has another exception related to age and mental illness. The exception extends the statute of limitations for two years.

So, if you were underage when the accident happened, the statute of limitations doesn’t expire until you turn 20. Keep in mind this exception doesn’t shorten the period either. So if you were injured in an accident when you were 17.5 years old, the three-year statute of limitations would not get cut short at age 20.

Similarly, if you live with a mental illness, the statute of limitations doesn’t expire until two years after your mental illness is resolved. This is why it’s important to find a lawyer who will be personally involved in your case. Information about a mental illness could give you significantly more time to craft a case. Unfortunately, settlement mills probably won’t take the time to get to know you on that level.

Why You Might Need the Full Time of the Statute of Limitations

The three-year statute of limitations gives victims and their families the time to pursue legal action. But why would it take so long? You’d naturally want compensation as quickly as possible.

Additionally, you might not think you need the full statute of limitations. While you want compensation for your injuries or the loss of a loved one, your claim or case can’t always go forward immediately. 

In addition to statutes of limitations, other laws can apply in car crashes that require parties seeking damages to take much quicker legal action.  For example, Wisconsin State Statutes 893.82 and 893.80 require certain legal actions against the state or local governmental entities to be taken within 120 days.

Let’s explore why that is.

Insurance Negotiations

There are many ways to pursue compensation outside of the court system. In fact, the vast majority of car crash claims are settled outside of court. Simply put, when you’re negotiating with insurance companies, you’re not in the court system.

However, these negotiations can take time. Insurance companies aren’t incentivized to pay for damages. They’ll do all they can to slow the process or get off the hook by having you contradict yourself. If the negotiations for damages stall, you might choose to pursue the matter in court. The statute of limitations gives you time to attempt negotiations before taking the matter to court.

Evidence Gathering and Case Development

Car crashes happen in a matter of seconds. Building a case can take months. After a car crash, it’s essential to gather as much evidence as possible in the circumstances. This includes police reports, insurance contracts, documentation of the crash, and more.

Depending on what your attorney finds, they may begin exploring additional options to give you the best possible outcome. Therefore, it may take time for your personal injury attorney to gather additional evidence and develop a robust case. The statute of limitations allows this possibility.

Recovery and Grieving

Car crashes are traumatic events. They could leave you in the hospital for weeks, or take the life of a loved one. While you know that getting the damages you’re entitled to is essential, you have greater priorities. Your recovery or grieving process will take time, and this can slow the process of pursuing compensation.

When Should You Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer?

After a crash, you’ll be dealing with a million things. Often, the last thing you want to do is add a lawyer to the mix. So when should you hire an attorney after a crash? Contacting a personal injury lawyer as soon as you can is a vital part of receiving the compensation you’re entitled to. Additionally, it enables you to strategically use the time allowed by Wisconsin’s statute of limitations for car crashes.

When you contact Frank Pasternak and Jeff Zirgibel, you’re not contacting just any lawyer. You’re not contacting lawyers who want to settle your case as quickly as they can. When you contact Pasternak and Zirgibel, you’re talking to a lawyer who will personally handle your case. They’ll take the time to understand what compensation will mean for you, and they’ll work to get you every last penny you deserve.

To start the recovery process, schedule your free initial case consultation with Pasternak and Zirgibel today.