After you have been involved in a car accident it can feel like there are a million things to think about. First, and foremost, you may think about your health and safety, along with everyone else involved in the crash. You may then think about the property damage, calling the police, contacting the insurance companies, calling a lawyer, and the list can go on and on. Also, the accident you have just been involved in may be so serious that you may be left completely disoriented and confused. With so much to think about after a crash, you may fail to realize there is a time limit on filing accident claim. And, if you fail to meet the car accident insurance claim time limit, you could be forever barred from making a claim and being compensated for the injuries you suffered in the crash.
Is there a time limit on car insurance claims?
There is a time limit on when you can file a car insurance claim. So, how long do you have to make an accident claim? The answer to that question can depend. Where the accident happened is the first factor to look at when determining a car accident insurance claim time limit.
Each state has the right to make their own laws on how long after a wreck can you file a claim. And, not surprisingly, the time limits are different across states and can vary by years. For example, if you are involved in an accident in Kentucky, you only have one year to meet the car insurance claim time limit. However, if your wreck occurs in Maine or New Jersey, then you have six years to file your claim.
You may not think the difference between one state’s time limit and another state’s time limit matters to you, as you may spend most of your time driving in one state. However, you may find yourself on a road trip, frequently crossing over state lines and passing through different states. If, for example, your trip took you across a rural highway between Utah and Nevada, where your crash occurs could make a big difference. If the accident you are involved in occurs on the Nevada side of the state line, you will have two years to file your claim. However, if the same accident happens in Utah, then you would have double that amount of time, or four years, to file your claim. So, unless all of your travel is restricted to your home state, you cannot learn the statute of limitation for just that state and assume that time limit will follow you wherever you go.
Your age is another factor that can affect the question of “How long after an accident can I file claim”.
A person’s age is usually not something that needs to be thought about after an accident occurs. However, if a minor has been involved in a wreck, then that will change how long to file claim after car accident. Because most laws are drafted to protect the rights of minors as much as possible, the time limit does not begin to run for a minor that has been involved in a crash until after the minor turns 18 years old. Therefore, if a 16-year-old has been involved in an accident in the state of Utah, then the minor will have six years, or until the individual turns 22 years old, to file the claim. The same minor would have four years, or until they turn 20 years old, to file a claim in Nevada.
The property damage claim time limit can also be different from the bodily injury claim time limit.
In the majority of states, the time to file a bodily injury claim and a property damage claim are the same. However, that is not true of every state. In some states, like California, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin you will have more time to file your property damage claim than your bodily injury claim. In fact, in Rhode Island you have 10 years to file your property damage claim. However, in a couple states, the time to file a property damage claim is less than the time you have to file a bodily injury claim. This is true in Montana and Utah. Therefore, it is important not to assume that because you have three years to file on your bodily injury claim, you will have the same amount of time to file on your property damage.
This list can help you determine the difference between the statute of limitations for a bodily injury claim and a property damage claim across the country. However, it is always best to consult with an attorney after you have been involved in a crash.
Because of the time limit on filing accident claim, it is important to not wait to move forward with your claim.
You may think that the amount of time given to file on a car accident claim is a long time. However, the time it takes to resolve a claim after an accident can take months, and even years. For most cases, the goal should be to settle the claim before a lawsuit is filed. Therefore, if possible, an individual should start working to resolve their claim just days after the wreck occurs. And only after everything has been done to resolve the claim before litigation has been done, should a lawsuit be filed. So, when thinking about the statute of limitations insurance claim, you cannot just think about the time it takes to prepare a lawsuit and file it with a court. Instead, you must also consider the months and month of treatment that often takes place after a crash, the time it takes to gather the medical records and bills, and the negotiations that take place after you ask the insurance company to settle your case at a given amount.
And remember, once the deadline passes, there is nothing you can do to force the insurance company to compensate you for the accident. So, it is best to hire a lawyer after an accident. The experienced attorneys at Valiente Mott can help you navigate the complicated path of resolving a claim after an accident.
Valiente Mott is a law firm dedicated to helping personal injury victims. We handle all personal injury matters, including, but not limited to, car crashes, defective products, and catastrophic injury. We are compassionate, yet aggressive when protecting personal injury victims and families who lost loved ones in fatal accidents. Learn more about who we are.
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