If you or a loved has been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of another person, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to recover the compensation you are entitled to. These cases can become incredibly complex, and each case has different variables.
One factor that can affect a case is when the date of the accident does not line up with the date when a person experiences pain or other injury-related symptoms. The date in which a person discovers their injury is called the “injury discovery.”
Different Timelines for Discovering Injuries
There are various instances in which a person may not realize they are injured until after the incident that causes the injury. This could be the case in the following situations:
- Many car accident injury signs and symptoms do not appear until hours or even days after the crash happened.
- Medical mistakes often cause injuries to patients that are not discovered until after the mistake is made. This can be the case for surgical errors, misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, failure to treat, and more.
- In long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, abuse and neglect may not be discovered until after incidents that cause an elderly person harm. This can be because many signs and symptoms of elder abuse often appear as natural conditions of aging or the person’s illness.
- There are times when dangerous or defective products can cause consumers harm that is not realized until years later. This could be the case with many medications or with chemicals that cause long-term health problems.
These are just a few examples of how a person’s injury signs and symptoms may not line up with the date that they were actually harmed. You should speak to a personal injury attorney about the specifics of your case.
Statute of Limitations in West Virginia
Each state is responsible for setting time limits that a person has to file a personal injury claim. These time limits are called statutes of limitation. In West Virginia, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date that the injury occurs.
For medical malpractice cases in West Virginia, the statute of limitations is two years from the date that the injury occurs or from when the injury is discovered. Victims of medical mistakes in West Virginia must file their malpractice lawsuits no more than ten years after the date of the incident, regardless of when the injury is discovered. For example, if a medical mistake occurs, but the victim does not discover the injury until 11 years later, they will not be able to file a malpractice lawsuit.
Injury Discovery vs. Legal Discovery Process
The injury discovery process should not be confused with the overall “discovery process” for a personal injury case, though it may be a part of the overall discovery. For personal injury cases, discovery is when both sides of the case are allowed to obtain relevant facts from the other side. This is often called the fact-finding process and can include all documents and evidence related to the case. This may also include depositions taken from all parties involved in which attorneys for both sides get to question all parties relevant to the case. Injury discovery evidence will usually be turned over as a part of the overall discovery process.