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How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim an Injury?

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Just how long after a car accident can you claim injury? This can be a difficult question for any car accident victim. First, the trauma and shock from a car accident makes it difficult to process exactly what needs to happen and when. Second, it may take some time to discover your injuries as you may not be symptomatic in the first days or even weeks after an accident.

For example, some people can take over a year to discover the full extent of their injuries from even a fender bender, not to mention neck or back injuries that might ensue. As time passes, it can become harder to prove that future claims of injury were actually caused by a car accident you sustained and not some other occurrence. So what do you do if you discover your injuries later in the process? And what if this is the other driver’s response to your delayed claim of being injured in a car accident: “Not my fault!”

The timeline in any case is key. Here’s a look at late-discovered injuries and how much time you may have to claim them.

What to Do If You Don’t Discover Your Injuries Right Away

Upon discovering the newfound injury, see your doctor immediately so they can properly diagnose the issue and determine the extent of damage. Also, ensure that you follow your provider’s guidance about how often you need treatment because the success of your recovery and your claim depend on that.

For example, if your chiropractor determines that you need two appointments per week for three months, be faithful to that treatment schedule so that the insurance company has no basis for making alternative claims against your claimed injury. Proving that you completed the necessary course of care is one of the strongest pieces of evidence that you have for the insurance company to believe your claim.

When you do speak to the insurance agency responsible for paying your claim, be sure to keep the following in mind:

  • Mention any visits to your doctor for medical attention, even if you don’t initially notice any injuries
  • Don’t admit fault to anyone for the accident — even if you think you may have been in the wrong, you may not be aware of all of the laws or facts that could determine fault in your case
  • Remember not to speak with the other party’s insurance company, and if you do, do not consent to a recording

How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim Injury?

Time is a complicating factor in what could have actually caused your present injury. If you’re asking how long after a car accident can you claim injury, many insurance companies want to know that the pain you’re having was not caused or aggravated by some intervening event separate from the car accident from long ago. You also need to explain any treatment gaps in the course of your care over the prior months.

You might want to delay the filing of your claim to ensure that it is all-inclusive, or at least give the insurance company notice that you have ongoing evaluation and treatment for injuries related to the crash. Filing a single claim is relatively much less complicated than filing multiple claims for one accident. Ensure that you comply with your insurance company’s policy requirements as some carriers only allow one claim per accident.

If your injury requires chronic or lifelong care, it’s best to know that sooner rather than later. The key is to make sure that your delay doesn’t go past the insurance policy’s time limit on filing a claim for your accident.

Your Time Limit for Claiming an Injury Depends on Your State and Car Insurance Company

Most insurers require that you file your car accident claim within 30 days of the crash. Coupled with this notification is that you inform your insurance that you were not at fault, and better, that you have a police report that squarely blames the other driver.

However, if you were arguably at fault, then it might serve your claim if you filed earlier rather than later so that the insurance company can work to process your claim faster. Depending on the state you’re in and depending on the type of insurance you carry, the time period varies for filing an injury claim with your insurance provider.

The Statute of Limitations Is Your Final Deadline

If you’re asking, “How long after car accident can you claim injury?” the answer is that if you delay the filing of your lawsuit you may exceed the statute of limitations period. This is the time limit you have to file your legal claim in court. Typically, you have between one year and six years to file your lawsuit depending on the state you’re in.

It’s important to note that the insurance company’s deadline for filing a claim is not the final word in terms of your ability to recover for your losses. It’s actually the state’s statute of limitations that controls whether a claim is late for purposes of recovery. While several factors can go into the statute of limitations deadline in your case, once it’s passed you’re not able to obtain compensation through the court system and it’s unlikely that an insurance company would take much action on your claim.

Unsure How Long After Car Accident Can You Claim Injury? Speak to an Expert Today

If you want to know whether you can still file a claim against your insurance or the other driver, havea professional review the facts of your claim today.


This article contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. The Law Dictionary is not a law firm, and this page does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

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