If you're hurt in a car accident, you may know instantly. The emergency crews will rush you to the hospital with broken bones, cuts and lacerations, bruising, and other common car accident injuries. If you're considering compensation for those injuries, you're going to start your lawsuit pretty quickly and you likely don't have to worry about any time limits.

However, some injuries aren't fully notable until later. For instance, some head injuries -- like concussions -- don't always show symtoms right away, but they could develop over time. Likewise, you may think you only have a mild headache that will go away on its own. When it doesn't after weeks and then months, you realize that you have a serious brain injury that needs treatment.

The Statute of Limitations

When this happens, it's crucial to look into the statute of limitations in your state. This statute likely applies to almost all injury cases, including car accidents. It can also vary significantly from one state to the next. In Maine, for example, you have six years to file your suit. In Kentucky, you have just one year.

Minors

If you're a minor, that can have an impact on how long you get to file. Generally speaking, the clock doesn't start ticking until you reach your 18th birthday. So, if you're hurt when you're just 16 and you get three years to file in your state, you're actually looking at five total years. Again, this may not matter in most car accident situations, but it definitely can -- especially when supposedly minor injuries don't heal as you expected and lead to disabilities and long-term medical costs.

Understand State Limits

The most important thing for you to take away from this is that different states have very different time limits, to which you must adhere. If you don't, even if you were clearly injured by another person and should have been given compensation, you can miss out on that compensation just for missing the deadline. Always look into your state-specific statute of limitation laws and know what legal steps you need to take to start your case on time.