Most policies don't provide a strict deadline or window of time (30 days, 60 days, etc.) for filing a claim after an accident or incident that caused you harm or injuries. Instead, you are generally required to file your claim promptly or within a reasonable time. Depending on the type of coverage you have and the details of the accident, the insurance claim could be filed with your own insurance company or with the other driver's insurance company (in the latter case, it's called a third-party claim). Usually, starting the insurance claim process means informing an insurance company representative that you have had an accident and that you intend to file a claim for injuries from the car accident, damage to your vehicle, or both.
Nowadays, you can usually do it online (most of the websites of the biggest car insurance companies offer the option to start your claim), but a phone call always works to get started. Learn more about how to contact your insurance company after a car accident. The exact deadline or, more precisely, the wording relating to when a claim should be filed will vary depending on your particular auto insurance policy. Some states (especially those that follow a no-fault car insurance system) have passed laws that specifically address this issue.
For example, New York, which is a no-fault state, requires that you file your claim within 30 days of the accident, unless you have a good reason not to. To answer this question for everyone else (who will be the majority of drivers), we must understand that the basis of any time requirement is to protect the car insurance company's ability to investigate your claim, including the details of the underlying accident. For example, let's say your car door was severely dented while you were shopping at a grocery store. Upon discovering these damages, he took many photographs and even obtained a copy of the surveillance tapes from the supermarket that showed another driver parking next to him and banging his door against his door, clearly causing the dent.
Let's also suppose that the surveillance images have a date and time to show when the damage occurred and even show the other driver's license plate number (you recognize that the license plate belongs to your neighbor). For whatever reason, you decide not to file a claim right away with your car insurance company. However, several months later, the dent begins to bother him, so he calls his insurance company and reports the damage. Reporting an accident to your insurance company is not the same as filing a claim, although they can be done simultaneously in some circumstances.
Depending on the state in which you live, you may have between one and 10 years to file a claim. This time limit depends on the government statutes that each state follows. Each state has a different statute of limitations when it comes to filing an insurance claim for a car accident. By waiting to file the claim, you just gave your car insurance company a quick and easy justification for denying your claim.
For example, in Virginia, drivers have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit and five years to file a property damage lawsuit. You can also file a claim with a third party with the other party's insurance to get paid for any bodily injury or property damage you suffer. If you filed a claim for damage to your vehicle, the claims representative will give you an estimate of the repairs or an appraisal of the vehicle if a total loss is declared. If you had little or no fault for a recent accident, you should file a claim with the other driver's insurance company.
The victim of an accident will first file an injury claim against their own insurance before pursuing the at-fault driver. Ultimately, the timing depends on the circumstances of the accident and on factors such as state laws, the severity of the injury and property damage, the involvement of lawyers, and how quickly you filed the claim. However, if you don't live in one of the 12 no-fault states, you must file a third-party claim directly with the at-fault driver's insurance company and your liability coverage will cover the costs of your injuries. Your insurance company may have an obligation to pay you for a covered loss, but you, as the policyholder, have an obligation to take reasonable steps to help them confirm the claimed damages and address key issues such as fault in car accidents.
In addition, when it comes to filing claims (which is different from reporting an accident), your provider may not give you a time limit or may set specific limits for types of coverage. Each state has different rules for how long after an accident you can file a claim for property damage or personal injury. The experienced lawyers at The Miley Legal Group have incredible knowledge about how to talk to claim adjusters so they won't risk saying anything that could be used against you and in your injury claim. Rather than suffering through this process alone, seek help from qualified car accident lawyers who can advocate for fair compensation after an auto incident.
You can also receive separate claim payments at different times at different times for each type of coverage that applies to your claim.