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By some estimates, there are around 6 million car accidents every year, injuring some 3 million Americans. Many of those accidents are simple fender benders, and most are covered by insurance. But some can involve serious injuries, and insurance doesn't always compensate you for all the costs.
So, you might be considering filing an injury lawsuit, and you'll definitely need to tell your insurance company about the accident. But when is it too late to do either of those things?
States have different deadlines, or statutes of limitations, for car accident lawsuits, and they can vary depending on whether the accident involved injuries or just property damage. Most states give you two years to file an injury suit, but the statute of limitations in some states it is only one year, and if the accident was caused by a government employee, it could be as short as sixty days to six months. Injury claims against government employees can have extremely short deadlines and other filing requirements that need to be met in order to be able to even file a claim in court.
It's important to figure out your legal deadlines as soon as possible -- if you wait until the day after the statute of limitations to file your case, your claims could be dismissed entirely. Know that in most states, you can still serve someone after the statute of limitations, but the case must have been filed before it expired.
After any car accident, especially with accidents involving serious injuries, your best policy is usually to alert the insurance company as soon as practically possible. Depending on the type of accident or injury, the type of policy, and the insurance company, the deadlines for filing an insurance claim can vary significantly. This interest in quick reporting is the same as statutes of limitation on injury lawsuits -- the sooner the accident can be investigated, the better the evidence to figure out exactly what happened. And, the sooner you file your claim, the sooner you can get reimbursed for any damage, so it's generally in your best interest to get your claim in quickly.
Your insurance policy may also contain more specific deadlines. And if you don't want to read through all that fine print, you can always give your insurance company a call, get the relevant deadline information, and have it handy for future reference.
Your best resource for car accident claims is an experienced attorney -- contact one today.