After a car accident, you probably feel like you have a million things to do: from following through with doctor’s orders to getting a quote for repairs of your vehicle, the list can seem endless.
One item on your to-do list that can’t wait is contacting your insurance company to file a claim. If you don’t file a claim with your insurance company in time, you could forfeit your right to recover under your policy!
But, knowing when to file your claim can be tricky because claim deadlines vary depending on a bunch of factors. Residents of one state might have more time than those in another state, the responsible party may have less time than the car accident victim…the list goes on and on!
However, insurance companies owe you a covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
(And no, it’s not a weird Indiana Jones and the Temple Of Doom-esque ritual.)
Basically, a covenant of good faith and fair dealing is the part of your insurance agreement that says that the company must process and pay out your claim promptly in good faith, and not do anything that will delay you from getting your money.
If all of this sounds confusing, no worries; we’ve got you!
We took a deep dive into this topic for you so you have the information you need to understand the car accident injury claims process and comply with all the rules that go along with filing a claim.
The personal injury claims process is full of different deadlines, even beyond the deadline set by your insurance company. Not unlike a minefield, a single misstep can destroy the ENTIRE claims process and result in a total or partial denial.
We don’t want that to happen! So, take a look at the following five crucial deadlines described below and find out how long after a car accident you have to claim an injury.
After a car accident injury, the first thing you should do is file a police report at the accident scene or within the timeframe allotted by your local rules. For example, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (NYSDMV) requires all parties to file a police report within 10 days of an accident causing more than $1,000 in property damage or any bodily harm.
You should also receive medical care for your injuries by a particular time. Most insurance companies give you up to 72 hours to seek medical attention, but this time period will vary according to the terms of your policy. Review your insurance policy’s language to determine how much time you have to seek medical attention after a car accident injury.
You should, of course, report your accident to the insurance company. If your state follows an at-fault insurance system, then you should file the claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company. For no-fault states, you file a claim with your own insurance company and they will cover you regardless of who caused the accident that led to the injury.
Let’s take a look at a few examples below:
As you can see, insurance claim deadlines vary widely by company. Ensure that you know your deadlines so that your case doesn’t skip a beat!
Most states allow you to file a claim against the government under a Tort Claims Act. If a government entity is responsible for your car accident, you need to notify the correct department of your intent to file a claim. These notification deadlines are very short, with some only lasting weeks after the accident.
“But wait! There’s More!"
Personal injury deadlines are civil deadlines that say, “Hey, this is how much time you have to file a claim.” These deadlines are known as the statute of limitations. If you miss it, you no longer have the right to obtain a settlement for your injuries.
Here are examples of a few states’ statutes of limitations:
Make sure you check your local laws to determine which deadlines apply to your case. Otherwise, you could be left in a very vulnerable position of not having enough insurance coverage.
It’s challenging to manage deadlines after a car accident injury case. No one understands this notion better than someone living through it. However, it’s essential to meet all the deadlines to get the coverage you need.
Enlist the help of family and friends to manage things if you suffer from severe injuries. Try to focus on following your doctors’ orders and discuss any challenges you’re facing with the insurance adjuster. They might be able to better facilitate the claims process in a way that works for you.