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How Long After a Car Accident Can You Sue?

If you’ve been injured in any kind of motor vehicle accident, you have a limited time to file a lawsuit when a claim is insufficient or the insurance company is rebuffing your efforts to secure a fair settlement. These time limits are normally set by state legislatures and can vary depending on where you live. Being aware of these statutes will protect your right to pursue financial compensation and justice. 

Too many people avoid getting the help they need due to uncertainty about the laws that govern personal injury suits. You could end up settling for less money than you deserve if you don’t have a knowledgeable attorney on your side.  

The attorneys at NST Law can help you understand the law and use it to your advantage to get the compensation and justice you deserve. 

How Long After a Car Accident Can You Sue Graphic

What are statutes of limitations?

The statutes of limitations concerning personal injury and wrongful death cases are laws that set a time limit to initiate legal action. Generally, these laws prohibit any civil or criminal legal matters from being asserted after a certain number of years have passed since the incident. 

Statutes of limitations are important for at least three reasons. These include: 

Ensuring Reasonable Diligence 

These statutes guarantee that lawsuits will be dealt with quickly. Any lawsuit should be filed as soon as possible.  

Preserving Facts and Evidence 

Limiting the amount of time someone has to file a lawsuit can help ensure that facts surrounding the case don’t become unclear or forgotten and evidence doesn’t spoil or become invalidated. In addition, waiting too long to file a lawsuit may mean that a person who knows critical facts may have moved or died before their testimony can be taken. 

Preventing Malicious Lawsuits 

There are times someone may file a lawsuit to harass another party. These laws can help prevent that sort of thing from happening. Statutes of limitations are important laws that help ensure that the legal system is not bogged down and that people are not harassed with stale or frivolous suits. 

What is the time limit to file a car accident lawsuit?

Statutes of limitations vary by state. Limits are set based on the date of injury for personal injury suits or the date of death for wrongful death lawsuits. 


In the state of Tennessee, the statute of limitations for both personal injury and wrongful death is one year from the date of the accident or the date of death, respectively. 


In Illinois, the statute of limitations for personal injury is two years from the date of the injury. For wrongful death, the time is limited to two years from the date of death. 


Mississippi has a three-year statute of limitations for both personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. 


Missouri allows five years to file a personal injury lawsuit. Wrongful death claims must be filed within three years of the date of death. 


In Arkansas, the statute of limitations for both personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits is three years from the date of injury or the date of death, respectively. 

Are there exceptions to the deadline to file a personal injury lawsuit?

Each state provides exceptions to the statute of limitations to file personal injury lawsuits. These exceptions take into account the age or mental capacity of the victim, the legal residency status of the offender, or the date of discovery of an injury.  

To best understand the statute of limitations in your state, contact NST Law. We can help you make sense of the statutes of limitations as they apply to your personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. 

What happens if I don’t file my lawsuit timely?

The clock for the statute of limitations starts running on the date of injury, the date of the discovery of the injury, or the date of death, depending on the circumstances of your case. If you don’t file your personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit within the allotted time in your state, your legal claim may be barred, and you will lose your right to sue. 

It’s up to the defense to raise the statute of limitations issue. If the defendant brings up the statute of limitations as an affirmative defense, it’s likely to result in dismissal. 

How can the personal injury attorneys at NST Law help me with my car accident lawsuit?

There’s no reason that you should pay for property damage or injuries that someone else caused. An accident lawyer can answer your questions, discuss your legal options, and keep you updated as your case progresses. A qualified attorney will be able to advise you about how the statute of limitations applies to your case. 

With over thirty years in practice, NST Law has recovered $2 billion in settlements and verdicts for our clients. We have many satisfied customers who could tell you that we are your best option.  

There are six pillars of service that our attorneys strive to adhere to as we attend to each client. These include: 

  • Compassionate care 
  • Accessibility
  • Resourcefulness
  • Trust and transparency
  • Personalized service
  • Maximized pursuit 

The preparation, dedication, and commitment to excellence by every attorney at NST Law provides you with a strong voice when facts are presented to an insurance company or a judge. If you’re in Nashville or any other city where NST Law has offices, you can be assured that when we’re on your side, you’ll be well represented.  

If you or a loved one has been injured, or if a loved one has died in an accident that resulted from someone else’s negligence, contact the personal injury attorneys at NST Law today. We will be happy to provide you with a free, no-obligation consultation.  

The personal injury and wrongful death lawyers at NST Law can assess the merits of your case, estimate the value of your personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, and offer an effective legal strategy for pursuing the justice and compensation you or your loved one deserve before time runs out.