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What if I Don't Immediately Notice My Personal Injury?

Last updated 6 years ago

If you were hurt as a result of an accident or someone else’s negligence, do not despair if you didn’t notice your injury until later. Some health ailments can take years to negatively affect your body. By the time you feel sick, it can be months or years since exposure to a hazardous substance or negligent act. Yet you may still have a valid personal injury claim against the party that is responsible for your pain. A state’s discovery rule and statute of limitations govern this issue:

Discovery Rule

Even if it has been years since your injury or contact with a certain chemical, you can sue for personal injury damages as long as you have recently discovered the ailment. The common-law "discovery rule" states that the statute of limitations on your claim does not begin to run until you reasonably become aware of the injury.  In essence, the discovery rule tolls, or extends your state’s statute of limitations until you find out about your injury. After you realize that you are hurt, medical documents and treatment records should corroborate your discovery.

Statute of Limitations

If the case is not one that can have latent side effects, such as a car collision where a driver sustains cuts and bruises, the statute of limitation starts to run beginning when the accident occurred. In Illinois, a personal injury claim has a statute of limitations of two years. Seeking counsel from an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident allows for maximum legal research and drafting, ensuring a strong claim.

Contact a local personal injury attorney to discuss your claim and possibly file a suit. Chicago-area residents should contact McCready, Garcia & Leet P.C., at (773) 779-9885. We are a full-service personal injury firm that can help with both readily apparent and recently discovered injuries.


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