How Long After a Car Accident Can I Claim Compensation?
When you’ve been involved in a car accident, it is crucial to find the right personal injury attorney as soon as possible to help you file a compensation claim. Florida’s PIP law requires you to file your claim within 14 days of the accident, whether it is for yourself or on behalf of a loved one. Such claims are no walk in the park, so it’s important to contact the right people – and fast.
Reporting a Car Accident
Make sure to get a police report. If possible, report the car accident right from the scene. You can always call back later if the insurance company needs information that you don’t have, such as the police report.
If you are not at fault, file a third-party claim against the other driver’s policy once you’re spoken with your insurance company, especially if you will be filing a lawsuit for compensation.
You have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit to claim compensation for medical bills, time lost from work, pain and suffering and, in the case of gross negligence on the other driver’s part, punitive damages. Contact a personal injury car accident attorney as soon as possible. If you are in the hospital and unfit to do so yourself, a loved one can contact an attorney to discuss your case on your behalf.
Even if you don’t feel any injuries right away, it’s important to seek medical attention. Some injuries are not noticeable right away and insurance companies will reimburse medical treatment when your initial consultation was within 14 days after the accident.
When You Are Required to File an Accident Report
Whether you are required to file an accident report may depend on state law and/or your insurance company. In some states, you have to report any accident that caused injuries to someone. Some states require that you report an accident if the damage is over some amount, usually between $1,000 and $2,500.
When you are at the scene of the accident, always get everyone’s contact information, even if you don’t think the accident needs to be reported. You may find out later that it does need to be reported, or an injury may pop up later and you’ll need to file a claim. Plus, state laws require that you exchange information if you have been involved in an accident. Getting a police report is always your safest bet.
In the event that another driver does not want to exchange information, you should get the police involved at the scene. The police will help you obtain this information. You should also call the police if there is a good faith dispute between you and the other driver(s) and passenger(s) involved in the accident.
The investigating officer will make a police report and will be able to record interviews with all witnesses and drivers. The police will also document damage to your vehicle. Additionally, if you do have to report the accident, your insurance company may require a copy of the police report. Most certainly, if you need to file a car accident claim because of injuries that you sustained in the accident, you will need a police report.
If you are in an accident in inclement weather and are told that law enforcement is dealing with other emergencies caused by weather conditions, check with a nearby gas station or convenience stores – they often have accident report forms. Fill one out and mail it to the law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction where the accident occurred.
Claiming Compensation After an Accident
If you plan on filing a car accident claim for compensation for medical expenses and pain and suffering, you are up against the statute of limitations for your state. The time begins to toll on the day of the accident. That means you have a set number of days to file a lawsuit to claim compensation for the accident. You may also be up against two different statutes of limitations. For example, a state may give you a year to file a personal injury claim but up to five years to file a claim for damage to personal property. In this case, once a year has passed, you won’t be able to get medical expenses or compensation for pain and suffering, lost work, loss of consortium and other compensations. Keep in mind that Florida insurance companies hold the strict 14-day rule.
What You Need to Claim Compensation
Contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident. You should have a copy of the police report, pictures of the accident and damage done to your vehicle, hospital and doctors’ bills, documentation of any therapy you may have had or are having because of depression after an accident, in addition to vehicle repair bills. Your attorney will be able to help you get some of this information if you have trouble getting it, such as medical bills, witness information, insurance information for all drivers involved or a police report.
An attorney’s job is to make the post-accident process as easy as possible for you, so they often handle as much of those tasks as possible without inconveniencing you. The attorney may also hire expert witnesses to try to prove the other driver was at fault. Even if you believe you were at fault, the fault may not be entirely yours, so it’s best to contact an attorney immediately after the accident.