How Long Can You Claim Injury After A Car Accident?

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Legally reviewed by Alex Uriarte on February 23, 2022 Alex Uriarte is a member of the 1-800-Injured network.

After an auto accident, it is very common for victims to suffer from injuries that require them to file a personal injury claim or personal injury lawsuit against either the insurance company or directly against the at-fault driver. Most often, these injury claims are filed with the insurer, and the victim will follow guidelines laid out by the insurance provider as they seek financial compensation or things like medical expenses, the cost to repair or replace property damage, lost wages, and a variety of other costs and losses. 

It is a fairly simple process to file a claim; unfortunately, most insurance companies are focused on settling a claim as quickly and inexpensively as possible, and even if the negligent party does accept responsibility, they will look for as many justifications as possible to offer the victim a low settlement offer. This is one of many reasons why it is so important for injured individuals to connect with a personal injury attorney who can help them navigate their car accident claim and fight for their client’s interests. 

While any legal claim for serious injuries is a complicated process, matters are even more complex when a victim discovers a serious injury long after a car accident has taken place. When filing a personal injury claim months — or even years — after the car accident occurs, an insurance company will attempt to deny the entire claims process in any way possible. In instances of delayed injuries, it is even more important for the success of your personal injury case to consider working with experienced attorneys.

Connect With a Personal Injury Attorney To Talk About Filing Deadlines and Legal Options For Your Insurance Claim

1-800-Injured is an attorney and medical referral service. When trying to navigate any accident claim after a car accident, especially one that relies on the statute of limitations to allow for a case, working with a lawyer is a great way to ensure that you are taking the appropriate steps to collect compensation for things like your medical bills and a variety of other damages. A free consultation is an excellent first step in this process.

Instead of taking the time to search for a car accident attorney advertising their services, contacting the law firm, and waiting for a response, you can contact 1-800-Injured to be connected with an attorney as soon as possible for an initial consultation. Contact us today to connect with a lawyer about filing a claim. Click below to get a better understanding of the statute of limitations and how insurance companies often handle a delayed auto insurance claim.

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

Every state has a personal injury statute of limitations that restricts the ability to file a personal injury lawsuit after a certain period of time has passed after the accident occurred. Once this amount of time has passed, a victim loses their legal right to seek compensation through either the personal injury claims department for an insurance company or a car accident lawsuit filed in court. 

Whether or not you think that you will file a claim after a car accident, you must seek medical attention as soon as possible, primarily to ensure that you are not overlooking certain injuries, and secondly to generate documentation relating to your medical care that will be helpful if you do ultimately end up filing a claim.

The personal injury statutes of limitations for each state are as follows:

  • Alabama – 2 years.
  • Alaska – 3 years for personal injuries resulting in death. If the injury does not result in death, it is 2 years.
  • Arizona – 2 years for injuries resulting from negligence or malpractice; 1 year for all others. 
  • Arkansas – 2 years. However, if the case is against the state of Arkansas, it is 6 months, and there are certain exceptions to this rule which must be examined on a case-by-case basis. 
  • California – 2 years unless otherwise stated.
  • Colorado – 2 to 4 years, depending on the case. For injuries related to automobiles or other vehicles, it is 2 years.
  • Connecticut – 3 years for all personal injury cases except product liability and medical malpractice cases where it is 4 years. However, there are several exceptions to this rule which must be examined on a case-by-case basis. 
  • Delaware – 2 years. The statute of limitations starts when the injury is discovered.
  • District of Columbia – 3 years. The time period begins running when the incident occurred or when the victim discovered that they were injured.
  • Florida – 4 years. There are certain exceptions to this rule which must be examined on a case-by-case basis. 
  • Georgia – 2 years if resulting in death. If the injury does not result in death, it is 1 year. 
  • Hawaii – 2 years for injuries resulting from negligence or malpractice.
  • Idaho – 2 years for injuries resulting from negligence or malpractice.
  • Illinois – 2 years unless otherwise stated.
  • Indiana – 2 years for personal injury, libel, or slander cases.
  • Iowa – 3 years, including damages resulting from libel or slander.
  • Kansas – 2 to 4 years, depending on the case: for injuries related to automobiles or other vehicles, it is 2 years.
  • Kentucky – 2 years; 6 months for neglect and abuse cases.
  • Louisiana – 2 years  . 
  • Maine – 4 years  . 
  • Maryland – 1 year  .
  • Minnesota – 3 years; 6 years if the person that caused the injury was in a motor vehicle. 
  • Mississippi – 3 years.
  • Missouri – 5 years unless otherwise stated. 
  • Montana – 3 years.
  • Nebraska – 3 years.
  • Nevada – 2 years except for medical malpractice. 
  • New Hampshire – 3 years; 6 years for libel, slander, and false imprisonment.
  • New Jersey – 2 years; 6 years if the person that caused the injury was in a motor vehicle. 
  • New Mexico – 3 years.
  • New York – 3 years.
  • North Carolina – 3 years.
  • North Dakota – 3 years.
  • Ohio – 2 years.
  • Oklahoma – 2 years.
  • Oregon – 2 years.
  • Pennsylvania – 2 years.
  • Rhode Island – 3 years.
  • South Carolina – 3 years.
  • South Dakota – 3 years.
  • Tennessee – 2 years. 
  • Texas – 2 years.
  • Utah – 4 years. 
  • Vermont – 3 years.
  • Virginia – 2 years.
  • Washington – 3 years.
  • West Virginia – 2 years.
  • Wisconsin – 6 years.
  • Wyoming – 4 years. 

If you are wondering how long after an accident can you file a claim, the above list will give you a general sense, but your individual options may vary depending on a number of details relating to your accident case, as well as the state where you are filing a personal injury claim. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are just a few of the many questions people have when they plan on filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit if they did not realize they were injured immediately during a crash. Keep in mind that the statute of limitations in each state is different. The process of seeking compensation or filing a lawsuit after discovering you are injured will be case-specific. 

Connect with an attorney as soon as possible to get specific and comprehensive answers to the many questions you likely have about your accident, your lawsuit, the statute of limitations, and the type of compensation you may be entitled to.

How long after a car accident can an injury show up?

Some injuries, such as fractures and lacerations, are immediately apparent after a car accident, while others, such as whiplash, seat belt injuries, a traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, and spine-related injuries, may take days or weeks after your car accident to manifest themselves. 

After car accidents, it is important that you do not tell the insurance company that you are ok and that you do not sign any waivers that block your ability to file a claim in the future. Even if you feel perfectly fine at the accident scene, do not tell the other party that you believe they have no fault in the accident, as this can impact your ability to recover compensation for any future medical bills, lost wages, emotional damages, and other impacts that a victim can seek in a car accident lawsuit.

How much should I ask for pain and suffering from a car accident?

There is no way to determine how much you are rightfully owed after a personal injury without first discussing your situation with an experienced car accident attorney. Medical bills are highly variable when factoring in things like ambulance rides, hospital stays, and more, as well as the “non-economic damages” your attorney will need to explore in detail. This is why it is so important to partner with a lawyer after an accident.

Can you claim injury after 3 years?

Depending on the state your accident took place in, and when you discovered that you had suffered an injury, you may be able to file a claim after 3 years; however, working with a car accident attorney who understands your state’s car accident statute of limitations is the easiest way to make sense of this. 1-800-Injured can connect you for a free consultation where you will be able to discuss the car accident, statute limitations, and more.

Do You Need An Attorney To File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Whether or not you are running up against your state’s statute of limitations for car accidents, working with a proven attorney can improve your chances of recovering the compensation that you rightfully deserve. 

When months or even years pass after a car crash, memories about details of the traffic accident scene, whether or not you had to seek medical attention, and countless additional information can fade from your mind and because seeking a monetary damages award relies on information specific to the car accident — as well as medical records, receipts, and invoices regarding property damage, etc. — the insurance company will want additional documentation and recorded statements that first discuss your reasoning for filing such a delayed claim. This is a great opportunity for an insurance adjuster to offset their company’s compensation amount by pinning some blame on the claimant since they are unable to provide all relevant information about the accident.