When Can an Insurance Claim Be Filed After a Car Accident

Assume you’ve just been in a car accident. Your automobile is slightly damaged, but the collision has disrupted your frantic schedule. Should you contact your insurance agent immediately or wait a few days or weeks?

You may be liable for compensation if you are involved in a car accident. This could be from your insurer or the insurer of the driver who caused the accident.

Nonetheless, there are some ground rules you should be aware of. One of the most critical concerns is how long you can file a claim after an accident.

Insurance company policies and state legislation may limit the period you must file a claim. When submitting a claim, insurers ask you to follow procedures and present supporting evidence, which might be inconvenient. Understanding how long you have after an accident to file a claim will help you handle your claim properly. This article will provide information on the timing for filing a compensation claim following a collision.

What Is the Definition of a Car Insurance Claim Deadline?

The time that must pass between the event of a car accident and the commencement of the claim process is the deadline for filing a car insurance claim. Depending on your insurance coverage and the circumstances of the accident, you may submit an insurance claim with your insurer or the insurer of the other motorist (the latter is known as a “third-party” claim).

Starting the insurance claim procedure normally entails informing an insurance company representative that you’ve been in an accident and intend to file a claim for your automobile accident injuries, vehicle damage, or both. Nowadays, you can usually do it online (most larger vehicle insurance company websites include a “Start Your Claim” option), but placing a phone call to the insurance company after an accident is always a good way to get things started.

Is It Necessary to Report an Automobile Accident?

Reporting may not be necessary for minor accidents where no insurance claim will be lodged. Most states require you to report accidents involving injuries or property damage totaling more than $2,000.

Yet, because certain injuries and car damage do not become obvious until days or weeks later, informing the authorities promptly after an accident is always advisable. The police report will be used as proof for all reports filed with the DMV and any claims filed with your auto insurance company.

How Long Do You Have After an Accident to Make a Claim?

The time frame for making an automobile insurance claim varies depending on the company or state. Several state insurance departments encourage filing a claim “as quickly as possible,” which doesn’t precisely define how long you’re permitted. If you live in an “as soon as possible” state, you should file your claim on the day of the accident.

Several states limit your time after an accident to sue an individual or business. For example, Texas law compels you to bring a lawsuit for bodily injury or property damage within two years of the incident. The period you have to accept an insurance payout may also be limited by state law. Individuals in Utah, for example, must accept or reject a physical injury claim within four years of the accident and a property damage claim within three years.

Suppose you need to place a call to the insurance company after an accident. In that case, the insurance company may only accept your claim due to the difficulties of analyzing the losses and determining the precise harm caused by the collision. To refuse your claim due to delay, however, the insurer must demonstrate that the time elapsed impaired your claim or disadvantaged the insurer somehow.

When you must submit a claim to an insurance company is set forth by law in various states. For instance, no-fault laws are in effect in New York, so regardless of who caused the collision, you must seek compensation from your insurance company for small incidents. You must submit a written notification of your claim under New York law within 30 days of the accident’s date.

You must abide by the restrictions if your state has them. Otherwise, you may not be able to continue with your case. The deadlines for filing an automobile accident lawsuit differ from those for insurance company deadlines. The state’s statute of limitations governs the deadline for bringing a lawsuit. If the statute of limitations has passed, your claim will be time-barred, or you won’t be able to proceed with your lawsuit.

Why You Should File an Insurance Claim Right Away

It’s a good idea to proceed with your case as soon as possible, regardless of how long you must file a claim. Here are some main advantages of filing a claim as soon as possible.

  • It’s simpler to gather proof.
  • Witnesses will remember the details clearly.
  • Your memory of the crash’s specifics will be improved.
  • You’ll be more able to demonstrate how the collision caused damage.

Effects of Postponing Your Claim

While filing as soon as possible after a collision is wise, waiting might have unfavorable effects whether you’re suing or filing a claim with your insurer.

If you wait, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit may have already passed, or the insurer may reject your claim since you waited too long and can no longer prove the injury the incident caused. But remember that your insurer can only refuse a claim because of a delay if state law establishes a deadline for filing a claim or if the delay caused injury to them or prejudiced the case.

Who to Submit a Claim With

You must decide who to submit a claim against in advance to file your case as soon as possible. The answer may vary depending on your state, the cause of the crash, and the extent of the injuries and property damage that resulted.

Third-Party Insurance vs. Your Insurance

In most cases, if the collision was your fault and you need to get paid for property damage, you will file a claim with your insurer. If you were hurt in a collision, you could also claim with your insurance if you have medical payments coverage.

But, if another driver was at fault for the collision, you will file a third-party claim with their insurance company. The insurance company for the driver who was at fault will pay damages to your property, medical expenses, missed wages, pain and suffering, and even mental distress. A third-party claim can be filed directly with the other driver’s insurance company or with the assistance of your insurance carrier.

Some drivers who cause collisions have inadequate insurance or no coverage. In these situations, you may submit a claim to your insurer to obtain reimbursement under your uninsured or underinsured motorist policy. Here, your insurance company would act as the at-fault driver’s replacement and provide you with the money the other driver was legally obligated to give.

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