Whether you’re just a driver or a passenger traveling from a point to another, getting caught in a car accident can be very disturbing. Studies show that survivors of such accidents are often associated with adverse psychological conditions that leave a negative impact on life. Another study shows that in 2020 alone, there happened to be 59,964 car crashes, 1,577 of whom were suspected to be victims of serious injuries. In these cases, it is paramount to act quickly and file the claim for the damage, whether for the injury or property. However, time is an extremely crucial factor in this regard, that is why you should know how long after a car accident can you claim injury.
The Statute of Limitations
To have a valid claim, it is important to be mindful of the confined time limit you have to take legal action against another individual for their neglect. The time varies between different states within the U.S, and also depends on the type of accident you were involved in. When the time runs out, there won’t be a guarantee that the court will hear any of your claims.
The most common injury-related claims are mentioned below with their time limits:
Injury Claims from damaged Automobile
This type of claim enables car owners a window period of 3-12 years (depending on the state) from the date of vehicle purchase to file a product liability lawsuit, in case a defected car component caused the accident. A product liability attorney can help guide you through the entire procedure and help with the settlement.
Car Accident Injury Claim
This claim involves filing a case against the guilty driver within 3 years. To be eligible for filing these claims, there should be signs of serious injury, for example, permanent damage to organs/functions of the body, deformity of some kind, or a considerable disability for around 3 months. Compensation in these cases usually means getting medical bills arising from injury cleared and covering the wage loss from the leave from work.
Keep reading the article to know more about how long after car accident can you claim injury.
Making a claim against a government official
As per the laws of the state of Washington, if you happen to be involved in an accident with a government official, you have a time period of 3 years to file a lawsuit, but, before that, you have to refer to the Washington State Office of Risk Management. Even afterward, if you are not able to come to a compromise, you can fulfill a waiting period of 2 months and then file a car accident case. Other states have different procedures, so make sure you are well-informed about those regulations before taking an uninformed step.
Claiming against death caused by a car accident
You may be able to recuperate from the loss of your loved one by a car accident in terms of the suffering and burial costs by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. The relationship with the person will determine the compensation, as long as it is filed within a period of 3 years. But you have to get the complete information about when and how long after car accident can you claim injury?
How to deal with Insurance Claims?
It is recommended to get in touch with your insurance provider when you get caught in a car accident regardless of whose fault it is. People often worry about insurance premium increase, or they want to try their luck with a settlement personally. But their priority should be contacting the insurance company, and there are several reasons why.
- The policy requires that you do so
In the USA, while purchasing a new car, you agree to adhere to the insurance policy, which requires you to report any accidents that may occur. If you don’t follow these rules, you may get penalized, and your provider can refuse your insurance coverage.
- The insurance company can help repair your car
It takes months to settle a lawsuit, but that does not mean you have to wait longer to get your car serviced and repaired. When you file the report with your insurance company (even if you’re not at fault), you can get your car fixed sooner while benefiting from your coverage.
- Impairment and injury are usually not always evident at the site
It generally helps to use an extra set of eyes to sort out exactly what happened at the time of the accident. Insurance company workers have an eye for intricate details; therefore, the damage that looks like a $400 repair can actually be a $4000 repair! The same goes for injury; it can be apparent many weeks after the incident took place. Having your insurance carrier on your side is always a good idea; it can even help in rare circumstances where the other person declares that the crash never happened
- If the other driver has no insurance
If you didn’t report the car accident to your insurance provider and if the other driver does not have car insurance, you both are in rough waters, especially since you would be responsible for covering all the expenses on your own. You both would be left to seek a personal settlement, which will surely be heavy on your pockets. The practical option is to inform your carrier in time and enjoy uninsured coverage.
- Don’t just inform them, file a proper claim
This may seem like the same as above, but there is a fine print. Your premium rate will be adjusted while filing a claim. Do not merely report the incident; by filing a proper claim, you will most likely be entitled to receive compensation for your damages.
- Hire an attorney as soon as possible!
Dealing with legal matters is not an easy task. That is why hiring an attorney is a pragmatic approach. An attorney can do it all for you and lift an immense weight off your shoulders. They can supervise important legal conversations for you and help you choose the right decisions from what the insurance company offers. They will also inform you how much you will be compensated for the injuries you faced and advise you throughout the process. Moreover, your firmness in the situation is reflected when an attorney enters the equation.
- Compiling evidence to make a presentable case
Collecting substantial evidence to present in the court, witnesses are to be questioned about the incident by the attorney while the incident is fresh in their minds. This should be done as soon as possible, because 1) As time passes, witnesses disregard the accident as an ordinary scene and don’t think much about it; hence they forget, and 2) They could be distressed by the event and with time may forget significant details that are fundamental to the case.
Any nearby CCTV cameras in the area can also help the case and should also be considered by a lawyer because these will be the most valid form of evidence against the offense. All these matters will be closely observed and handled by the attorney.
What kind of compensation can you request?
After reading this all, you must be thinking, ‘Is it even worth it?’ and ‘how much will you even be compensated for?’. The answer is a bit vague: that depends. Not everyone has the same experience of injury. Even if you know anyone who went through a similar car crash and injury, that will still not determine whether you’ll receive the same compensation. In general, the more injuries from a single crash, the higher compensation you may get. Furthermore, ensuring that if the other individual’s carrier is following the driver’s policy.
In most cases, insurance companies will only pay the highest stated amount. For example, if you were charged a total of $70,000 for your treatment, you may only be compensated $50,000, as that was the maximum prescribed limit. If this happens, your underinsured motorist coverage will take care of the remaining amount (most of the time).
Unfortunately, if you happen to be a part of a car accident, do not delay taking legal action! This will hold any compensation that you deserve. Even after all the added costs to your expenses, the chances of getting justice from an at-fault driver will diminish gradually with time (as stated above).
Besides this, try to keep track of all medical bills and other treatment costs as well. This will be of help to you in the court when needed. Other things that can be compensated for are days-off at work, compensation for your hassle (your attorney will help you put it in figures), and if you are unable to work after the injury, then that can be an added cost as well.
Make sure you research the laws in your state well enough. You never know when to make the most of it.
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