How Long Do You Have to Report a Personal Injury After a Car Accident?
Getting into even a minor car accident is a traumatic experience. When it happens to you, the shock may make it difficult for you to think clearly about the best way to proceed. That same shock may also mask the symptoms of a personal injury from the crash. Being aware of this can help you act in your own best interests should you be the victim of an injury accident. It’s imperative to act swiftly to report a personal injury after a car accident to preserve your rights.
How quickly you need to report a personal injury depends on whether you are simply dealing with an insurance claim or if you are filing a personal injury lawsuit. The car accident itself should be reported to insurance within twenty-four hours, typically. If you are also filing an insurance claim for personal injury, your best bet is to file a claim as soon as you become aware that you have suffered an injury, preferably within days of the accident. While some aftereffects of a car accident, such as whiplash, may not be immediately apparent, the more time that elapses between the accident and when you file your claim, the more difficulty you will have proving that your injury was caused by the accident and not something else. In general, it is always a good idea to see your doctor after a car accident, even if you feel fine at that moment. Proving that you sought medical attention right away can be instrumental in strengthening your claim.
If you are fortunate enough to be working with a cooperative insurance company (either yours or the other driver’s), while you’ll want to rush to let them know about your injury, you should not rush to accept a settlement for your medical bills. It’s imperative to understand the full scope of your injuries and the course of treatment that you’ll need to get before you sign a release. If your injuries have kept you out of work or school, you should consider that expense as part of your damages as well. In fact, you may want to consult an attorney to help you evaluate a settlement offer to determine if it is fair and that you’re not missing potential unseen costs associated with your accident. Once you’ve signed a release, it’s too late to go back and ask for more if the settlement you received wasn’t enough.
Should you find it necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit, the statute of limitations (or deadline) for filing varies by state. Some, such as Kentucky, Tennessee, and Louisiana, have deadlines as short as a year, while others, such as Maine, Minnesota, and Oregon, have deadlines of six years or longer. The clock starts running as soon as you know you’re injured, and once the statute of limitations is up, you lose your right to file a lawsuit. If you suspect that you might have to file a lawsuit to get fully compensated for your injuries, you should consult a knowledgeable personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Nobody ever wants to be the victim of a car accident, but if you or a loved one has been injured in a crash, the experienced attorneys at Hodes, Milman & Liebeck are there for you. We have a strong track record of successfully fighting for our clients’ rights. Contact us today online at hmlm.com or call 866-730-1976 for a complimentary case evaluation.