Interviewer: How soon after the injury should I contact an attorney?

Bill Levinson: I think the soonest possible time after you’ve been hurt and are able to communicate. The reason for that is there’s a possibility or there’s a better possibility of getting accurate witness statements and the lawyer can get control of what’s happening with the vehicle if it’s a motor vehicle collision, because what can happen is that the police will just have your car towed to any lot and that lot will start storage charges and sometimes the insurance companies won’t pay them as part of the property damage settlement. I think in terms of priority the most important thing is to preserve evidence.

Going to Court

Interviewer: Do personal injury claims have to go to court?

Bill Levinson: No, they don’t. I would say the majority of them settle, although there’s a new trend with insurance companies: they believe now that they have a better chance in front of a jury than paying a reasonable settlement. What that means to my clients is that I’m filing a lot more lawsuits. It’s a yes and a no answer. It used to be yes, but I think that for all of my clients that come in, especially those that are, unfortunately, hurt badly, I prepare them as if we are going to be going to court.

Statute of Limitations

Interviewer: How long do I have to bring a lawsuit against those legally responsible for causing my injury?

Bill Levinson: Your question is about the statute of limitations. That is how you define the time in which you have to do something. In principle, it’s a simple question. However, for example, the State of Washington’s statute of limitations is three years. The State of Oregon is two years. The State of Alaska – two years. They vary. Then within that, if you’re suing the government or you want to sue the government, they have a procedure where you have to file a claim and allow them sixty days before you file your lawsuit. If you don’t do that, your claim, your lawsuit – it’s fatal. In principle, yes, there is a timeline and a time limit. After that it can become very complicated.