Dog Bite Settlement for Injuries 22 Years Ago...
I was bitten by the neighbor's dog when I was 5 years old. The bite was in the face and required stitches. I am now 27 years old and just found out my parents had come to an agreement/settlement with the neighbor's insurance company. All of the paperwork was completed except for the final signatures by my parents.
They did not complete the final signatures and no settlement was awarded. I still have all of the original paperwork and have contacted the insurance company. I am waiting to hear back from them.
My question is, now that I'm an adult, can I finalize the settlement or have access to the settlement in any way? Thank you.
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ANSWER for "Dog Bite Settlement for Injuries 22 Years Ago...":
At this point the only way you can count on the cooperation of the insurance company is... well, if they decide to cooperate!
In almost all 50 states there exists a two (2) year Statute of Limitations period. This means once a person has been injured they have 2 years from the date of their injury with which to either settle their claim with the person or entity which injured them, or to file a lawsuit against them.
If an injured person doesn’t abide by the 2 year timeline, they will in almost every case lose not only their chance of an agreed settlement, but more importanty, their legal right to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for their injuries.
There are almost no exceptions to this rule. In your case there may have been an exception because you were a minor at the time of the injury, and only had the legal power to sue when you reached the age of 18. Then when you turned 18 you might have been permitted by the Court to have the 2 year Statute of Limitations begin anew.
Regrettably, in your case at the age of 27 it is virtually impossible for you to have any legal right to pursue a recovery of compensation from the dog owner.
There is a remote possibility the money may still be set aside for you with the insurance company. Even though your parents, for whatever reasons, failed to sign the final settlement documents, the claim may have been for all intents and purposes settled.
Call the insurance company. Before you do try and locate the claim number. It may be among some of the documents related to your claim. If you don’t have access to the documents or claim number, don’t give up.
Go right to the insurance company. Although unlikely, they may still have the money available, and may have been waiting all these years to give it to you.
Regrettably, because the money was not entered into a legal document and order signed by a Court, the settlement money will probably not have accrued any interest. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by at least trying.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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