What’s your typical morning like? A little coffee, maybe some breakfast, and then you’re off to work. Maybe you’ve got a meeting in the afternoon, or perhaps it’s time for a nap. Whatever your routine maybe, we can all agree that one thing is constant: car accidents are common.
In fact, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 36,096 deaths due to motor vehicle crashes in 2019 alone. This means that everyday dozens of people are injured or killed on American roads—and many more are injured but not killed.
When you’re injured in an auto accident, it can be hard to know what to do next. Even if you feel fine immediately after the crash, there’s no telling how long it will take for your injuries to manifest themselves fully. And even if they do manifest immediately, there’s still a lot of confusion around how long after an accident should you claim an injury? Should you see a specialist, like an auto injury doctor?
If you’ve been in an accident recently and are wondering when you should claim an injury, we’ve got some tips that can help you make the most informed decision possible. Read on to educate yourself!
The Amount of Time You Have to File a Claim for Injuries
A car accident can be a traumatic experience. In addition to the physical injuries you suffer, you may also suffer psychological trauma. It’s important to report your accident as soon as possible — but how long after an auto accident can you claim injuries?
The answer depends on what state you live in. Some states require that you report your injuries within one year of the accident, while others give drivers up to 10 years or even more time.
If your insurance company asks you to initiate the claim process within 24 hours, it’s best not to do so without consulting with an attorney first. The insurance company may say something like, “we’ll pay for your medical bills if you sign this waiver stating that you didn’t suffer any injuries,” — but this isn’t true! You do have rights in this situation, and it’s best not to waive them until you’ve spoken with legal counsel, who can advise you properly on what steps to take next.
But be reminded that it is recommended that you report all injuries within 24-hours of the accident, even if they don’t seem serious at first. This will ensure that they are documented and considered by your insurance company when they determine their compensation amount for your claim settlement.
How Long Do You Have to File a Car Accident Claim or Lawsuit?
The statute of limitations for car accident claims in Florida is four years from the date of the accident. This means that if you have been injured in a car accident, you must file your claim within four years. If you are not sure about your rights and obligations, consult with an experienced lawyer who can answer your questions and help you protect yourself.
How Does the Statute of Limitations Work?
The statute of limitations is a law that sets out how long you have to file a lawsuit after an accident or incident. It also sets out how long someone has to report an injury or wrongful death before they lose their right to sue. This rule exists because after enough time passes, it becomes more difficult to gather evidence and witnesses, which makes it harder to win a case. The clock starts running at the time of the incident or injury, not when symptoms appear or become noticeable.
Related content: What happens to your body in a rear-end collision?