How Long After an Accident Can you File a Claim

It is important to understand how long you can wait after an accident before filing a claim. If you do not file within the time limit, your insurance company may refuse your claim if it is injured in an accident.

A few states allow personal injury claims (medical bills, lost wages) for up to five years or even longer if fraudulent concealment of facts has occurred; these statutes are called "statutes of repose." This means that no matter how old the injury is, you will have only one opportunity to file a lawsuit against someone else's insurance company. On the other hand, most states' statutes of limitations vary depending on whether there is injury and whether the injury involves physical damage or property damage. States with shorter statutes of limitations are typically those where the accident caused only property damage, while states with longer statutes of limitations are generally those in which personal injury has occurred. The time limit for filing a claim after an accident is not the same as the insurance policy's statute of limitations, which can be anywhere from one to five years. If you file outside your state's statute of limitations, you will likely have to fight the insurer about whether the time limit has lapsed. Even if you win that argument, it can end up taking several weeks or months to get paid.

What Is A Personal Injury Claim?

A personal injury claim is a legal case that can be made to compensate someone for injuries suffered in an accident. In motor vehicle accidents, the person physically harmed or left with ongoing pain and suffering from an injury usually brings a lawsuit -- even if no cars are damaged in the accident. The type of personal injury claim you file will depend on whether you were in a car accident, truck accident, or motorcycle accident. In the event of a car accident, you have to prove negligence on the part of the other driver. If the accident involved a car and a motorcycle, you have to show that the motorist was negligent for failing to see or anticipate the motorcycle, or that the motorcyclist was negligent for failing to obey traffic rules.

Can I Still Make a Claim Against Another Driver Who Had No Insurance?

Yes, oftentimes, if another driver does not have liability coverage, someone who was injured in a car accident caused by the uninsured motorist, can still receive compensation from their own insurance company. If you have collision coverage, it will pay for damages to your vehicle regardless of who was at fault, but if you were injured in the auto accident you must have personal injury protection (PIP) or underinsured motorist coverage to pursue a claim against your own insurer.

How Long After an Accident Can I Make a Claim?

The time limit for filing a claim after an accident is called a statute of limitations and varies by state. In North Carolina a civil lawsuit for injury must be filed within three ear of the day of the accident, so don't wait too long to contact an attorney about representing you. Once a claim is denied, it may be tough to get your insurer to reconsider and pay up. If a car accident results in someone’s death then the representative of the deceased has two years to file a wrongful death claim.

Do I Have to Pay My Own Insurance Company's Legal Fees?

No, personal injury protection (PIP) on your own car insurance policy will pay the costs of representing yourself against another driver's company in case that other driver doesn't have enough liability coverage or has no insurance at all. This extends even after the statute of limitations on filing a claim runs out. The following states mandate that PIP must cover legal fees in case another motorist is uninsured or underinsured: North Carolina, Florida, Illinois New Jersey, and Rhode Island.

What Happens If I Miss My State's Statute of Limitations?

In some states if you miss your state's statute of limitations for filing an injury claim, you can still file a property damage claim within your state's time limit if another driver was at fault and caused damage to your car. However in North Carolina damage to real property or personal property must be brought to North Carolina's civil court system within three years, the same timeline for filing an accident claim. If you miss the filing deadline it is highly likely the defendant will file a motion requesting the court to dismiss the case, which the court will likely grant.

What Are The Benefits of Having Legal Representation In Your Case?

Having legal assistance in your case can help you receive the compensation you deserve more quickly and efficiently than if you tried to handle the claim yourself. When an insurance company knows it's dealing with someone who is legally trained, they will most likely move more quickly on settling your claim. Legal representation also ensures that you are not cheated out of proper financial compensation for your injuries or your damages.

Let Us Assist You With a Personal Injury Claim in NC

Attorney Hank Doyle has over 26 years experience fighting personal injury claims in Wake County including Wake Forest, Raleigh, and Cary. Contact us today at  (984) 235-1067 or fill out the form below.

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