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How Long After a Car Accident Can I Claim Injury?

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From fender benders to total vehicle crashes, car accidents can be a jarring, traumatic experience for those involved. If you’ve been hurt in an accident, the trauma is compounded as you navigate how to cover medical expenses. After suffering an injury, one of the most common questions people ask is “How long after a car accident can I claim injury?” This is an important question because making a claim in the appropriate time frame is crucial in receiving the compensation you deserve. 

The Difference Between Claiming an Injury and Suing for an Injury  

Accidents can be overwhelming, and it is easy to start throwing around phrases such as “file a claim” or “file a lawsuit” interchangeably. However, it’s key to understand the difference between the two terms. 

For starters, a claim is a legal demand for compensation. This usually involves a request to an insurance company for payment following an accident. Lawsuits, on the other hand, are legal actions decided in court and involve one party (the plaintiff) suing another party (the defendant) for compensation. In each instance, you will want to contact an experienced lawyer to provide more concrete answers to some of your questions, including what can you sue for in a car accident or will the other party’s insurance cover my medical bills. 

The two do have something in common. How long after an accident can you sue and how long after an accident you can claim an injury depends on the statute of limitations for the state the incident occurred in. 

driver at the doctors after car accident injury

What Does “Statute of Limitations” Mean? 

A fundamental piece of accident law to understand is the statute of limitations. This refers to the amount of time you have to file a claim before you are no longer able to do so. For the most part, each state determines their own time frame. The statute of limitation will not only vary by state but also by the type of incident.

For example, California’s statute of limitations state that in regards to property damage a person has three years to file a lawsuit from the date the damage occurred. For personal injury, California allotted two years to file a claim unless the injury was not discovered right away. In that case, the statute of limitations is one year from the date the injury was discovered. 

It’s important to contact a personal injury attorney to help you navigate the trickier parts of the law. While getting hurt on the job seems like it would fall under personal injury statute of limitation, if you ask “how long do I have to sue for work-related injuries?” The answer could be significantly different. In California, federal or state workers injured on the job only have six months (or up to a year in certain circumstances) to file a lawsuit against the agency responsible.

When to Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident

Every car accident is unique. From the type of damage to the specific laws of the state where the accident occurred, it is a lot for someone to handle while also recovering physically and mentally. That’s why one of the best things you can do for yourself after an accident is hire a lawyer. He or she will be there every step of the way to answer all of your questions including, “how long after a car accident can I claim injury?” At Avrek Law, we want you to receive compensation you deserve. With more than 50 years of combined experience resolving cases in favor of clients who were wrongfully injured, Avrek Law has recovered more than $1 billion in compensation for injury victims in more than 45,000 cases. Contact us for your free consultation to learn more!

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