How Long After an Accident Can You File a Claim?

Being involved in an accident is a stressful experience that can result in life-altering injuries, both physically and mentally. If you were not at fault, you can make a claim and often receive a decent payout. 

But what if the injuries or impacts take a while to show themselves? Or what if you are in too much pain to make a claim? How long after an accident do you have to file a claim? 

Well, today we are here to tell you! 

Statute of limitation

When we file claims or lawsuits, a vital phrase to be aware of is the statute of limitation. This refers to how long after an incident, you can make a claim or report it.

The period is different in every state, so be sure to check the limitation time in your state before going any further with the claim. 

There are also different time limits depending on the damage being claimed, such as bodily or property damage.

It is worth checking these other time limits, and if you are unsure what one your claim from an accident will fall under, you can consult with a lawyer in your state for further information. 

When reporting a car accident, you should report it as quickly as possible. Each state has a different period, ranging from immediately to 30 days.

Be sure to check your state’s limitations to ensure you are within that time. It is worth noting that states that require an immediate report of the accident are assuming you will call the police from the scene to report the accident. 

Generally speaking, most insurance companies offer a 30 or 60-day time window to claim after an accident. It is always best to report the accident and file the claim as quickly as possible to ensure proceedings begin promptly and you can get the payout or car repairs you require. 

Filing the claim

When filing your claim after an accident to be processed on time promptly, it is best to do it as soon as possible. This will ensure that the necessary repairs to a car can be carried out, and you can get medical care for any injuries you may have sustained.

Usually, when letting your insurance company know about an accident, you will be asked if you would like to file a claim. 

Every insurance company and state will have a slightly different time limit, as we said earlier. Generally speaking, personal injury claims often have a two-year deadline, and property damage, three years. 

Be sure to check these with your policy, insurer, and your state’s regulations. The sooner you make a claim, the better. However, a more extended period within each state allows the accident. 

Do I need to claim?

When filing a claim, it is always worth considering a few factors first. The rules in your state, and that your insurer and its policy are the first to make sure you can make a claim. 

It is also worth considering the amount of damage you are claiming for. Often, if the damage is minimal, it is worth having the repairs priced up as this can be cheaper than your premium on your insurance going up or any excess payments you may need to make. 

If you have been injured during the accident, it is worth filing the claim to ensure that you are covered for any medical treatment you might need when. It is best to contact your car insurance and your health insurance to cover all grounds. 

Now what?

Once you have decided and made your claim, the process can begin; if the claim is being made after a car accident, it is best to do it as soon as possible. Once the claim is filed, your insurance company will assign an insurance adjuster to your case. 

They will review your case and all evidence such as police reports, photographic evidence, and witness accounts. This is another reason to submit the claim as soon as possible so that any witnesses that need to be spoken to will have a better memory of the accident. 

Once the evidence has been assessed, the adjuster will offer a payout amount. They will also negotiate with the other party’s insurance and their payouts, if necessary. The insurance company will also handle any car repairs with a repair shop. 

All of this can be done after the fact within the statute of limitation, but the sooner you start, the sooner you will get a resolution and return to normality.  

Can a late claim be declined?

Let's say you did not realize the extent of the damage at the time of the accident, and now you want to make a claim. Can your insurance provider deny this claim?

Every policy and state has different rules, as we have said, but generally speaking, unless you are outside the set time, you should not be penalized. As long the delay in making a claim does not impact the insurance companies’ ability to investigate the claim, you should proceed. 

For example, as long as they can still access police reports or date-stamped photo evidence to confirm the accident’s date, your claim can usually go ahead. Without evidence, insurance companies can question the legitimacy of your claim.

Remember that some policies set a 30 or 60 day limit on claiming for a car accident so be sure to get your claim before then! 

Final Word

It is in everyone's best interest that your claim is filed as quickly as possible. A delay in making your claim can result in it getting denied by some insurance companies, as it can sometimes be challenging to confirm the claim’s legitimacy. 

Every insurance company, policy, and the state has different rules around the statute of limitation for filing a claim. Be sure to check these thoroughly when taking out your insurance policy and after an accident.

Remember, when doing this, that even if there is an extended period to claim, it is better to claim as soon as possible to avoid any issues with your claim. 


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