A couple of weeks ago I got a phone call from someone that was injured while working up in McHenry County back in 2010. He originally thought the accident date was December 10th and unfortunately he called me on December 13, 2013. He hadn’t had any benefits paid toward the case in the last two years so it looked like he missed the date for filing the case by three days.
That was really too bad because whether you miss it by three days or three years, the statute of limitations has the same effect. It’s a rather hard and fast rule. Not knowing how long you have to file a case is irrelevant and not an excuse even if it’s unfair. Unless you can prove that the insurance company somehow lead you on and tricked you in to waiting too long, you are typically out of luck.
You must remember that until you have representation, nobody is looking out for you except for you. If you don’t know what you are doing or you make a mistake, there is nothing that can be done. Well at least not typically.
In this case I told the caller that he needed to call all of his medical providers and double check the accident date to make sure it was in fact too late. And I told him to do it ASAP.
Good thing he listened because he found some paperwork from the insurance company that listed the accident date as actually December 13, 2010. This was around 2:00 p.m., so we had approximately three hours to get the case filed.
Had he decided to wait until the next morning or even later that night to check then he would have been out of luck again. As it is, he nearly cost himself a mid five figure settlement, but fortunately that shouldn’t happen.
The bottom line is that you should never wait to bring a case. It doesn’t benefit you in any way and it’s not as if you are paying your lawyer any up front money.
This was certainly a crazy phone call. I’ve talked to many people who have missed the filing deadline by a few weeks and many others that missed by a year or more, but never have I had a call from somebody that just happened to call on the date that their time limit was up on and not realize that they were on the verge of blowing their case completely.