In most cases, the statute of limitations requires that you file your lawsuit within two years of the date of the injury, or else you can be prohibited from recovering from the negligent party. However, this deadline may be longer or shorter depending upon a variety of factors, such as the type of negligence (medical malpractice, birth injury, product defect), the age of the victim (minor, adult), and the status of the defendant (public entity, private person).
Two years may seem like a long time, but it can pass by quickly while you are busy with the aftermath of a serious personal injury, such as concentrating on your physical recovery; dealing with insurance forms, doctor and hospital bills and other paperwork; and getting back to work or collecting disability. If you are talking to the insurance company about a settlement, these negotiations can drag on past the deadline for you to file a lawsuit if you are not careful, which can be disastrous to your case.
Contacting an attorney soon after the accident will help ensure that the statute of limitations will not be overlooked, as well as handling other important matters such as notifying your insurance company in a timely fashion. Also, your lawyer will get started right away gathering important evidence and preparing your case for the best result either through settlement or verdict.