The aftermath of a car accident can be disorienting. Accident victims often feel dazed and emotionally disconnected after a crash. This is normal as the trauma of a wreck takes time to process both mentally and physically.

While some car crash injuries may be apparent immediately after an accident, others may not manifest until hours, days, or even months after a crash. This time-delayed manifestation of harm is especially common with soft tissue injuries.

If you were hurt due to an auto accident but were unaware that you had any injuries until time had passed, the question of how long after a car accident can you claim injury is a pressing one. The answer to this question will depend upon your state’s laws. Here’s a look at the typical timeframes that could come into play as you navigate the aftermath of your crash.

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    How Long Do You Have To Get An Estimate After An Accident?

    If you’ve been injured in a car accident, chances are that your car has also sustained damage. While there’s no deadline on when you can get a repair estimate after a car accident, the sooner the better. An estimate that’s closer in time to the accident will:

    • Make your insurance claim process move more quickly.
    • Give you a better idea of the value of your case.
    • Make it harder to argue that your car’s damages took place at some point after the accident.

    An attorney can help you with the estimate process and can also speak with insurance companies on your behalf. After all, insurance representatives may start contacting you soon after your accident to discuss repair estimates. If you answer their questions about the crash before meeting with a lawyer, you could inadvertently say something that the representative will use to devalue a settlement award.

    You’ll also want to act quickly because insurance companies don’t give accident victims an unlimited amount of time to file accident claims. Some insurance providers require that accident victims file claims within 30 or 60 days, so it’s important to review your policy to see what applies. Failure to get an estimate and file an insurance claim within whatever window an insurance provider requires may cause you to lose out on rightful compensation.

    Special Timeline Considerations If You've Been Injured

    If the accident wasn’t your fault and you were injured in the crash, you’ll need to quickly clarify how long after a car accident you can claim injury in your state. State laws protect the rights of accident injury victims to sue at-fault drivers for causing them harm, but these timeframes are limited.

    You may be able to hold other drivers legally and financially responsible for your harm, if you can show that your injuries were due to their negligence, recklessness, or intentionally harmful behavior. To prove either of these, you’ll need time to know how much time you have to collect evidence.

    State Statutes Of Limitations For Injury Claims

    The laws in your state determine how long after a car accident you can claim injury through the filing of a lawsuit. Each state sets a time limit for filing personal injury claims, commonly referred to as a statute of limitations. If you file a claim for injury after this timeframe has expired, your case will be dismissed in court and you won’t receive any compensation.

    Each state’s statute of limitations for auto accident injuries – those that don’t result in death and aren’t subject to other exceptions – details how long after a car accident can you claim injury:

    State-by-State Chart

    AL 2 Years AK 2 Years
    AZ 2 Years AR 3 Years
    CA 2 Years CO 3 Years
    CT 2 Years DE 2 Years
    DC 3 Years FL 4 Years
    DC 3 Years FL 4 Years
    GA 2 Years HI 2 Years
    ID 2 Years IL 2 Years
    IN 2 Years IA 2 Years
    KS 2 Years KY 1 Year
    LA 1 Year ME 6 Years
    MD 3 Years MA 3 Years
    MI 3 Years MN 2 Years
    MS 3 Years MO 5 Years
    MT 3 Years NE 4 Years
    NV 2 Years NH 3 Years
    NJ 2 Years NM 3 Years
    NY 3 Years NC 3 Years
    ND 6 Years OH 2 Years
    OK 2 Years OR 2 Years
    PA 2 Years RI 3 Years
    SC 3 Years SD 3 Years
    TN 1 Year TX 2 Years
    UT 4 Years VT 3 Years
    VA 2 Years WA 3 Years
    WV 2 Years WI 3 Years
    WY 4 Years

    Even if your state gives you years to file a claim, you’ll want to speak with an attorney as soon as discover any injuries. Your attorney will need to work quickly to preserve evidence that could make or break your case. Also, they’ll need to handle any property damage insurance claims within weeks, not years, of your crash.

    How Long After A Car Accident Can You Claim Injury? Learn More With A Free Case Evaluation

    It isn’t always easy to figure out the answer to the question of “how long after a car accident can you claim injury?” especially if special circumstances apply to your situation. To learn more about your rights, legal options, and how much time you have, schedule a free case evaluation with a local expert today.

    Legal Disclaimer: This article contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation and should not be interpreted as creating an attorney-client relationship. If you have legal questions, you should seek the advice of an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

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