How Long Do I Have to File a Claim after an Accident?

injury claim

One of the biggest concerns, after having been involved in an auto accident, is how much time you have to file a claim. The answer to that may vary on a number of factors, but, in any case, it’s not something you should put off. Your first concern must be to tend to your injuries and other medical conditions caused by the incident, but, immediately afterwards, speaking to a personal injury lawyer in Charleston WV should be a top priority.

Deadlines to File a Claim Vary

There isn’t a federal law that dictates how long an individual has to file a claim in an auto accident. While some states may dictate a specific time frame, not every state will address the issue. These types of statutes of limitations are usually only set in states with a no-fault auto insurance system, such as New York. In states like that an individual has up to 30 days to file a claim, but may be allowed to file after the deadline, if they can show a good reason for not having filed sooner.

Even in states that don’t set a time limit, the individual insurance company can set a limit of their own. For this reason it’s important to contact a Charleston WV personal injury attorney as soon after the accident as possible. Professional accident attorneys who know the system, such as those at Freeman & Chiartas, can help ensure you don’t miss any deadlines. While some insurance providers will set a specific deadline, such as a 30 or 60 day time frame, most companies simply urge expediency with vague wording. The policy may say claims must be filed “promptly” or “in a reasonable amount of time,” which does give the accident victim a little leeway.

What is a Reasonable Amount of Time?

If you’re involved in a serious accident, you may want to let a personal injury lawyer in Charleston WV handle the filing of your claim. However, if it’s a less serious accident, resulting in just minor injuries or minimal property damage, you may think you don’t need a Charleston WV personal injury attorney. In some these type of cases, take pictures of your damages and obtain copies of your injuries to submit to your insurance company, but before you proceed meet with one of our attorneys for a free consultation to determine what is the best strategy. You don’t want to hesitate and wait too long to do something. Some people wait, thinking their injuries or damages aren’t that severe. Later, as more injuries develop or property damage turns out to be more serious, people try to file an older claim only to be told by their insurance company that it’s too late.

If you feel any uncertainty at all, it’s better to consult a Charleston WV personal injury attorney soon after the accident. A free initial consultation with Freeman & Chiartas can give you a better grasp of your situation and help you determine your best course of action. Doing nothing and waiting to see if your situation worsens can be a costly mistake.