Three Reasons To Wait To File A Personal Injury Lawsuit

Posted on: 9 November 2017

If you've recently been seriously injured, such as with a meniscus tear, in an auto accident and aren't happy with the offer of settlement you've received from the at-fault party's insurance company, you may be contemplating filing a personal injury lawsuit instead. While it's important to file such a lawsuit well within the statute of limitations, filing too soon could actually backfire in some cases. Read on to learn more about when it may make sense to wait to file a personal injury lawsuit.

#1. You're Not Yet Sure How Injured You Are

Often, certain auto-accident-related injuries, particularly neck and spinal trauma, can take months or even years to develop. If you settle with the at-fault driver's insurance company too quickly, or proceed to a lawsuit and only request compensation for the known damages you've already sustained, you could be leaving money on the table.

Once you settle a lawsuit or are awarded a judgment, you're no longer able to go back and request more money, even if your injuries are far more extensive than you originally thought. 

Instead, by waiting until near the end of the expiration of the statute of limitations, you'll be able to confidently announce your damages and ensure that you have the necessary medical records to show that your later-developing injuries stem from the car crash that happened a year or two earlier.

And because personal injury lawsuits can take some time to wind their way through the court system, filing later can give you the opportunity to amend your original complaint to add later injuries, medical expenses, and other costs related to your crash. 

#2. You Want to Settle 

Although the filing of a personal injury lawsuit can be one way to force settlement with the other party, it's not foolproof. In fact, filing too soon could leave you running up against deadlines and time limits for which you're not prepared before you've even decided what would be a fair settlement amount. 

If you'd rather not pursue a personal injury lawsuit but plan to use the prospect of one as a "bluffing" tactic to force settlement, you'll need to ensure you're prepared to play your hand if needed. Filing a lawsuit you're not prepared to pursue in a timely manner can clog up court dockets and, especially if the judge or jury suspects you're merely using the court system as a threat to the other party, ultimately harm your case.