How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim Injury?

How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim Injury?

Vehicular accidents take place every day, and drivers and passengers often fall victim to these scenarios. However, not all cases will be workable for pursuing a personal injury claim.

In 2020, the number of passenger cars involved in accidents in the United States was around 4.7 million. The following year, the number increased to approximately 6.1 million police-reported cases.

Suppose you were involved in an accident and sustained injuries. In that case, you should know the costs of medical treatment and property damages. Pursuing a personal injury case can help you receive a settlement.

How much is the average settlement you may receive from a vehicular accident in the U.S.? Will your insurance company cover your personal injury costs? How long will you have to wait to claim your injury compensation after the car accident transpired?

This article covers these questions and explains why having a personal injury lawyer can provide insight into how to resolve car accident issues. It also tackles how to determine who is at fault and who is the one to make the determination.

Furthermore, this write-up explains the concepts of car accident statute of limitations and how it will apply to your injury claims.  

If you’re involved in a car accident, it’s always best to contact a car accident attorney to help you. Visit and gain access to a database of thousands of lawyers across the country. 

The process is easy. You only need to select your state and browse through the different legal professionals depending on your case type. is a valuable resource for seeking legal help concerning injury cases. Browse our website and learn how leveraging the legal expertise of a lawyer can help in car accident cases that may involve fines and possible jail time.

Important Deadlines After a Car Accident: What Are the Details of Car Accident Statute of Limitations?

Every state in the U.S. practices its rules to determine the time permitted to take legal action.

For example, in North Carolina, you are granted up to three years from the car accident date to file a lawsuit against the possibly liable party.

However, there are some situations in which the deadline may be extended. If someone under 18 is hurt in a car accident that was someone else’s fault, they will have three years from the date they turned 18 to file a lawsuit.

Moreover, the deadline for such lawsuits can be extended if the defendant cannot be found or is currently in another state.

Remember that before filing a claim, you must sufficiently recover from your sustained injuries to provide a reasonable idea of your medical treatment costs and whether you will require further medical care.

If the sustained injuries are severe, recovery can take several months.

What Is the Statute of Limitations, and How Does It Apply to Car Accident Claims?

The statute of limitations is your state’s time limit to file a personal injury lawsuit or claim.

The statute of limitations includes many layers, such as getting checked for injuries at the accident scene, receiving medical care, and filing insurance claims.

Since the process can be daunting, knowing how and when to file a claim or a lawsuit is crucial.

Why Have a Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Claims?

There are valid reasons to limit the time permitted to file a lawsuit. One good example is to protect the integrity of evidence and witness testimonies (if available). It will also mean that the plaintiffs (the accusing party) cannot indefinitely threaten a lawsuit.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Wrongful Death From a Car Accident?

Every state has a different statute of limitations for a wrongful death in a car accident case.

For example, in North Carolina, the representative of someone who had died from a car accident has two years from the date of death to file a lawsuit.

Suppose the person initially survived the crash but was deceased at a later date due to their sustained injury. In that case, the deadline will run from the person’s date of death and not the accident date.

Exceptions That “Toll” Deadlines for Legal Action

When a deadline for an injury claim is said to be “tolled,” it can be extended for various reasons.

An excellent example of a tolled statute of limitations is when a minor victim is involved in a car accident case. For these cases, the victim has to wait until they’re of legal age to file a lawsuit for damages.

Another example of a circumstance that can be tolled is when the car accident victim is deemed mentally incompetent or unable to participate in a legal proceeding.

The statute of limitations may also be tolled for someone who has sustained severe brain trauma or a senior adult suffering from cognitive impairing injuries.

How Does the Statute of Limitations Apply if the Injured Person Is Under 21?

In North Carolina, if you are younger than 21 and you are injured in a car accident, you may have more time to file your lawsuit, depending on how old you were during the crash. This is because minors are not allowed to bring legal action.

Moreover, if you were under 18 during the accident, the statute of limitations will commence once you reach your 18th birthday. If you are between 18 and 20, the standard three-year deadline will apply starting from the accident date.

Does the Statute of Limitations Also Apply to Insurance Claims?

Insurance companies often require you to report a car accident you were involved in within a few weeks or days.

Although the statute of limitations does not directly apply to the insurance claims process, it does affect the settlement procedures.

Suppose the insurer disputes liability and does not negotiate. In that case, you can only force the insurance company to compensate the claim after taking the insurer to a court hearing.

Statute of Limitations by State

In the U.S., each state follows its statute of limitations, which insurance companies must abide by. The following are the statutes of limitations in each state.

State Table

Name of stateComprehensive/property, collision damageBodily injuries
Alabama24 months24 months
Alaska24 months24 months
Arizona24 months24 months
Arkansas36 months36 months
California36 months24 months
Colorado36 months36 months
Connecticut24 months24 months
Delaware24 months24 months
Florida48 months48 months
Georgia48 months24 months
Hawaii24 months24 months
Idaho36 months24 months
Illinois60 months24 months
Indiana24 months24 months
Iowa60 months24 months
Kansas24 months24 months
Kentucky24 months24 months
Lousiana12 months12 months
Maine72 months72 months
Maryland36 months36 months
Massachusetts36 months36 months
Michigan36 months36 months
Minnesota72 months24 months
Mississippi36 months36 months
Missouri60 months60 months
Montana24 months36 months
Nebraska48 months48 months
Nevada36 months24 months
New Hampshire36 months36 months
New Jersey24 months24 months
New Mexico48 months36 months
New York36 months36 months
North Carolina36 months36 months
North Dakota60 months60 months
Ohio24 months24 months
Oklahoma24 months24 months
Oregon72 months24 months
Pennsylvania24 months24 months
Rhode Island120 months (10 years)36 months
South Carolina36 months36 months
South Dakota72 months36 months
Tennessee36 months12 months
Texas24 months24 months
Utah36 months48 months
Vermont36 months36 months
Virginia60 months24 months
Washington36 months36 months
Washington, D.C.36 months36 months
West Virginia24 months24 months
Wisconsin36 months36 months
Wyoming48 months48 months

Contributory Negligence May Eliminate Your Recovery

In states that observe contributory negligence, you are barred from recovering any settlement amount if you contributed in any way to the crash. Very few states practice this, although Virginia still does.

Damage Caps

To discuss damage caps, we’ll use the state of North Carolina as an example.

Damage caps are placed to help limit the amount you get from a personal injury claim. North Carolina’s limit for punitive damages is $250,000.

Car Insurance Injury Claims Against the Government

In North Carolina, a different ruleset applies if you were injured in an accident and the other driver works for the government. You must file your claim to the Industrial Commission in up to three years.

After an Accident Checklist

Regardless of how safely you drive, car accidents are unavoidable. How you handle the aftermath of a car crash could help you recover damages for any injuries you’ve sustained. The following subtopics discuss what to do after an accident.

At the Accident Scene

When you’re involved in a vehicular accident, the first thing you should do is make sure you put yourself in a position of safety from further harm. Check whether you or anyone else in the vehicle had sustained any injury.

For minor accidents, it’s best to pull to the nearest shoulder or a safe place to prevent obstructing traffic. If you cannot do so, stay within the traffic lane and be careful not to step out.

Pull Over

In most states, the law requires you to stop your car and avoid blocking traffic if you are involved in a vehicular accident.

You may leave the scene temporarily to seek medical assistance or call the authorities. Otherwise, you must remain present until a police officer completes the investigation or if you are authorized to leave.

Call Law Enforcement

In the aftermath of car accidents resulting in property damage, personal injury, or death, drivers must promptly notify the local law enforcement agency through the fastest available means of communication.

If the accident doesn’t involve property damage, personal injury, or death, and no unattended vehicle is damaged, contacting law enforcement is not obligatory.

Nevertheless, you may inform law enforcement to establish an unbiased record of fault for the accident.

Assist Anyone Who Is Injured

In the aftermath of a crash, assess whether any individuals involved are injured. If someone sustains serious injuries, promptly call for medical assistance. 

While waiting for help, make the injured person comfortable and provide reasonable assistance. Only move the injured person if you possess proper medical training.

What Should I Do Until the Police Arrive?

In a car crash scene, your first responsibility should be determining if someone requires medical help and calling for aid.

When the authorities arrive, you should provide the information required by the law to each party involved in the accident. This includes the following:

  • Names of the drivers
  • License plate numbers
  • Addresses and phone numbers
  • Automobile insurance companies of the involved parties (including the policy number)

Suppose witnesses at the time do not wish to remain at the scene of the accident until the investigators arrive. In that case, it’s best to obtain their contact details first.

Should I Move My Car Before the Police Arrive?

In most occasions, it’s better not to move your vehicle after the accident since it makes the investigation easier. However, in some states, having a stranded vehicle on the central portion of the road is prohibited unless the driver is disabled.

If you cannot move your car, you must take reasonable precautions to inform others of your whereabouts. If you managed to drive your car, remember its location since this is valuable information for the investigating officer.

Before moving any cars, you should mark the position of the tires on the roadway. If you don’t have a marking tool, you can photograph the location of each vehicle from multiple angles.

What Will the Police Do When They Arrive?

The authorities must prepare an accident report upon arrival at the scene. The investigating officer will be interviewing the involved parties and the witnesses.

The authorities will also gather evidence, such as the length of skid marks, the point of impact, and the functionality of the vehicles’ equipment. Afterward, the police will issue citations indicated by the circumstances.

Even if the investigating officer fails to issue a citation, they will most likely note the contributing factors in their report.

Police officers will also require both parties to have an “exchange card,” which shows the identification of the involved people and their respective automobile insurance data.

If you’re one of the involved drivers in a car crash case, make sure to obtain the name, badge number, and agency of the investigating officer.

What Happens After the Investigation Is Completed?

If you can still drive, you will be permitted by the authorities to drive your vehicle away from the scene of the accident. However, if the car cannot run due to the damages, you or the police at the scene can arrange to tow it.

Always document the name and address of the towing company and the location of where your car will be stored once it’s towed away.

What Should I Do Immediately After a Car Accident?

Navigating the aftermath of a car accident involves many questions. The following subtopics will discuss what happens immediately after the car accident.

Can I Get a Copy of the Accident Report?

At the car crash scene, the investigator will give you the details of the police report (make sure this is listed on your exchange card). Most accident reports are available three to four days after the incident.

You can also get a copy of the report from the Internet or pay a nominal fee to obtain it from the Division of Motor Vehicles.

What Happens if Traffic Citations Are Issued?

In most car accident cases, the investigating officer will determine whether a state law has been violated. The presiding officer can also issue a ticket to the involved parties.

Violations like DUI (driving under the influence) or reckless driving may result in a criminal arrest. A driving ticket is an infraction that the District Court will handle.

If your ticket was for an infraction, a “responsible” plea can be used against you in a civil trial. A finding of responsibility at trial cannot be used against you in a later trial for damages.

What Should I Do After the Investigation Is Completed?

After the investigation, notify your insurance company of the accident right away. If you can still operate your vehicle, it’s best to promptly get a repair estimate from a body shop.

You should also photograph your vehicle to show all the damage it sustained from several angles. If you believe your vehicle was totaled, you should still put some effort into determining its pre-accident value.

Write a statement of the circumstances of the accidents while the facts are still fresh in your mind. Finally, maintain an organized location for all hardbound documents, such as police reports, diagrams, photographs, and estimates.

Exchange Information

After a car accident, share your name, address, driver’s license, and vehicle details with others involved, and don’t forget to ask them for the same. It’s a good idea to check the other driver’s license. While exchanging insurance info is recommended, it’s not a legal must. 

Should I Get Written Statements From the Witnesses?

Obtaining a witness statement is always a good idea in car crash scenarios. Make sure the statements are documented, signed, and dated on paper.

These statements are valuable if the other party or their insurance company claims you were at fault for the accident.

Dealing With the Insurance Companies

Although a car crash accident can be physically and mentally taxing, it is always best to maintain your composure. After things have settled on the scene, deal with the other driver’s insurance company, especially when you think the accident was their fault.

Who Do I Call to File a Claim? Which Insurance Company Should I Contact?

After the accident, the contents of the exchange card and other information you have obtained from the other party should determine whether or not they have insurance.

Call their insurance company if you believe the other driver is at fault. Make sure to contact your own insurance company as well as a precaution.

What Will the Insurance Companies Do?

The insurance company is responsible for investigating the settlement claim. They will decide who is at fault and the grounds for liability.

The insurance company often asks you to provide a statement of your version of the car crash. Before you provide any statement, make every effort to mentally prepare for it and organize your thoughts to emulate what happened accurately.

In these cases, be careful to answer only the questions being asked. Refrain from volunteering any information as it may be held against you later.

How Will a Company Determine Who Is at Fault?

The insurance adjuster in charge of investigating the car crash incident will attempt to identify who is negligent or who is at fault.

For states practicing contributory negligence law, a driver will be barred from collecting a settlement amount if the accident was partially their fault. Disagreements over negligence may have to be resolved in court.

What Happens When More Than Two Vehicles Are Involved?

Accidents that involve multiple cars can be complex cases for your insurance company. If you believe two or more parties contributed to the crash, contact each party directly, including their insurance companies, if available.

What if the Accident Was Partially My and the Other Driver’s Fault?

You should promptly contact your insurance company if you believe you were at fault for the accident. For states that practice contributory negligence, you will not be entitled to any recovery compensation against the other party.

You must file a claim under your policy’s collision coverage in such cases.

What Should I Do if the Other Party Does Not Have Insurance?

In most states, all vehicles are required to have liability insurance. However, some drivers are not compliant with the law. If the other driver was not insured, you can file a claim within your uninsured motorist coverage with your insurance.

In worst-case scenarios, if the at-fault driver refuses to compensate your damages, filing a civil lawsuit against them may be your only recourse.

Am I Entitled to a Rental Car

As a rule of thumb, if the other driver caused the accident, and your car cannot be driven or is under repairs, you are entitled to a rental car or compensation for the loss of use of your vehicle. 

Getting Your Car Repaired

After a car crash, insurance claims cover the cost of repairing your car, ensuring that the expenses accrued are taken care of. This process involves providing evidence, like repair receipts or estimates, to support your claim.

The following subtopics will discuss some factors to consider when repairing your car after an accident.

What Damages Am I Entitled to?

Typically, if you need repairs, what you can get from the other driver or their insurance is the gap between the car’s value before and after the wreck. The actual repair cost or the repair estimate is evidence of the damage.

If Your Car Can Be Repaired

The insurance company can typically suggest where to send your vehicle for repairs, but you also have the right to choose your own repair shop.

The determined amount payable under the policy shall be compensated regardless of whether or not you chose the insurance company’s suggestion.

An insurance company shall not require after-market components unless they are similar to the original in quality, performance, fit, and warranty.

Modifications deemed necessary because of the use of after-market components shall be part of the estimates.

If I Am Not at Fault, Which Insurance Company Will Repair My Car?

If it is determined that the other driver caused the accident and you have collision coverage, you have two choices.

Either you insist that the at-fault driver’s insurance cover your vehicle’s repair, or you can have your insurance company pay for the repairs under your policy. 

When the Other Driver’s Insurance Company Pays to Repair My Car

If you don’t have collision coverage or choose not to pay the deductible, you should try to have the at-fault driver or their insurance company compensate your damages.

If your vehicle can still be operated, the other driver’s insurance may require you to get an appraisal from a drive-in claims office.

When I Use My Collision Coverage to Repair My Car

If you cannot agree with the other party’s insurance company regarding who is at fault and how much the damages were, this will likely delay your vehicle’s repair.

In such cases, it’s best to have your insurance company pay for the repairs. If they do, they should cover the entire repair cost (minus the deductible) regardless of who is at fault for the accident.

If I Am Partly at Fault, Which Insurance Company Will Repair My Car?

In most states, if you are partially at fault for an accident, the other party’s insurance company has a legitimate legal defense. In these cases, your only recourse is to claim your collision coverage.

Will My Insurance Rates Be Affected if I Claim Under My Insurance Policy?

If it was determined that you were not at fault for the accident, your premium should be unaffected, given that your insurance company will receive payment from the other driver’s insurance.

In cases where the insurance company attempts to increase your premium due to an accident that wasn’t your doing, you should promptly discuss it with your agent.

Can I Select a Body Shop to Make the Repairs on My Car?

You can negotiate with the insurance company to determine the choice of body shop. It’s illegal for them to push you toward a specific one.

If their estimate is lower than your chosen body shop’s, have your shop discuss it with the insurance adjuster.

Alternatively, ask your repairman to review their estimate and explain why it’s unreasonably low.

If no agreement is reached, you can either accept their estimate or pay your repair shop and consider legal action against the responsible party or your insurance company if you’re filing a claim under your collision coverage.

Who Is Responsible for Faulty Repairs?

If you find out that the repairs for your vehicle were not satisfactory, you should immediately discuss it with your insurance company and the body shop that made the repairs.

Should the body shop be unwilling to correct the faulty repairs, or if the insurance company denies authorization for further repairs, you will have limited options.

If satisfactory results cannot be achieved with your chosen body shop, you may need to take your vehicle to a different shop. Doing so will give rise to a claim against the body shop that performed the faulty repairs and possibly the insurance company.

Can I Insist on New or Dealer-Manufactured Parts?

Often, the repair shops suggested by the insurance company may attempt to fix your vehicle with used or after-market parts.

When using your collision coverage for repairs, examine your policy to understand the allowed parts for the fix.

Used parts in good condition should be reasonably acceptable since the components being replaced in your vehicle were also considered used during the accident. Of course, the decision always comes down to a point of negotiation between you and the insurance company.

Do I Have to Sign a Release?

When retrieving your car post-repair, you should sign a release that gives up future claims for property damage against the responsible party and their insurer.

Before signing, ask to inspect and test drive the car to confirm no apparent defects. Afterward, read the release form, ensuring it’s limited to property damage and doesn’t waive other claims, including bodily injuries.

Additionally, check the received check to ensure it’s for property damage and not labeled as payment for all claims or in full before endorsing or negotiating it.

If Your Car Is Totaled…

In some cases, particularly with old model cars, the repair cost will be more than the vehicle’s fair market value.

When the vehicle is deemed incapable of any reasonable repair, you are entitled to the difference between the car’s pre-accident value and its salvage value (if any) after the crash.

Bodily Injuries

If you have sustained injuries after the incident, consult your insurance company to understand the procedures for filing a claim and seeking compensation.

The coverage for medical bills in the context of bodily injuries is addressed through the responsible party’s liability insurance, ensuring that their insurer bears the cost of your necessary medical expenses.

It’s always best to consult your personal injury lawyer for these instances.

What if I Later Found Out That I Was Injured in the Accident?

If you endorsed a general release form that isn’t limited to property damage, any subsequent injuries may become your responsibility, regardless of whether the other party is at fault.

The insurance company does not have the right to necessitate you to surrender any possible bodily injury claims to settle your property damage settlement.

Ensure that any release form you sign is limited to property damage. If you find out at any time after the car accident that you sustained injuries, contact your personal injury lawyer right away.

See a Doctor

Even if you believe you did not sustain serious injuries after an accident, consulting a doctor is always a good idea. It is not rare for injuries to reveal their symptoms until hours or even days after the accident.

Upon seeing a doctor, explain in detail what happened and that you were involved in an accident to get a more appropriate diagnosis.

Who Will Pay the Medical Bills?

Listed below are the viable sources from which you may recover your medical expenses after an accident:

  • Medical insurance plan (from work or otherwise)
  • Medical payment coverage under your policy
  • Your uninsured motorist coverage
  • The other driver’s liability insurance
  • Worker’s compensation claim

Who’s at Fault for My Injuries?

In a car crash case, the investigating officer will record the accident in their report. The report can then be used as evidence for your insurance claim.

At this point, the statute of limitations (if applicable) will take effect, and the time limit to file an insurance claim or perform legal actions commences.

Depending on which state the accident happened, the insurance company will need to determine which party is at fault.

At-Fault States

In at-fault states, if the other party was determined to be responsible for the accident, they will most likely cover your legal fees and medical expenses.

Each state follows different rules, so use court forms or seek advice from your personal injury lawyer when settling the damage claim.

No-Fault States

In a no-fault state, the victim has minimal protection through the responsible party’s insurance company. Thus, you must contact your insurance company about personal injury protection if you’re an accident victim.

The insurance company will review the specifics of the accident. It will inform you of how much your insurance policy can compensate. This process can be long, so starting as soon as possible is always best, especially if you want to include your medical bills.

Common Injuries Resulting From Car Accidents

Listed below are some of the most common injuries from car accidents:

  • Head and back injuries
  • Neck and chest injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Arm and leg injuries
  • Penetrating injuries (when a foreign object punctures the body)
  • Organ damage
  • PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder)

Learn More About How to File Your Personal Injury Claim

Some types of damages from auto accident cases are challenging to convert into a dollar amount. Often, the best way to gain compensation for such is to consult the legal advice of a qualified lawyer.

Hiring a trusted law firm’s personal injury attorney can also help increase the settlement claim. A personal injury attorney can help when insurance companies try to settle a case with lowball offers.

When you hire a car accident lawyer, insurance companies see that as a telltale sign that they will have to give you a fair settlement for your case. is a valuable resource when searching for an experienced lawyer specializing in injury cases. You can filter your search by different practice areas and find an attorney that fits your legal needs.

Types and Amounts of Automobile Insurance Coverage

To discuss the types and amounts of automobile insurance coverage, we’ll use the state of North Carolina as an example.

In North Carolina, drivers must adhere to the following minimum automobile insurance amounts:

  • $25,000 per single-person claim for injury or fatality
  • $60,000 max coverage amount per accident case
  • $25,000 for property damage claims

Like most states, North Carolina also requires drivers with minimum insurance limits to have uninsured motorist coverage.

Having uninsured motorist coverage will allow drivers to file a claim with their insurance company if they are the victims of a car crash and the responsible party doesn’t have insurance.

How Do I file an Auto Insurance Claim?

If you find yourself tangled in a car accident scenario, the following steps must be taken to file your claim:

  • Contact your insurance company ASAP
  • Use a smartphone application (if available) to jumpstart your claim
  • Determine what documents are needed
  • Understand your claim’s timing
  • Find out if your policy covers payment for a rental car
  • Give the information requested by your insurer

Why Would I Wait to File a Claim?

As previously stated, some damages or injuries may not be apparent immediately after the accident. If this applies to your case, waiting a few days before you file your claim could be a good idea.

Be sure to be informed of your state’s statute of limitations and file your claim within the limits set by the law. Refer to our state table to determine how long after the date of the accident you must file a settlement claim.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Settlement Check After a Car Accident?

Car accident settlements typically occur at a reasonably fast pace. This is an advantage of settling a claim instead of pursuing a lawsuit.

According to a report of individuals who made car accident claims between 2015 and 2020, it took about 10.7 months for car accident victims to claim settlement for their accident. Also, over half of the victims settled their car accident injury claims within six months.

The Time it Takes to Settle a Car Accident Depends Upon Many Factors

The time it takes to settle cases varies. If the other driver is entirely at fault, and your injuries are apparent, you might settle with their insurance and get a check in 90 days.

However, reaching a satisfactory agreement might take longer in cases involving multiple vehicles, complex injuries, or both.

Resist Settling Too Quickly With an Insurance Company

Insurance companies often approach car accident victims with a quick settlement. However, it’s advisable to consult with your personal injury lawyer to protect your interests before agreeing to any settlement the insurance company offers.

 Insurance companies seek to boost their profits by lowballing the settlement offers. While resisting an immediate check offer can be difficult, it’s often the best strategy to maximize your financial recovery.

Car accident victims commonly face expensive medical bills and unpaid time off work. Once a victim accepts a settlement offer, they cannot obtain more later. This restriction can be problematic if the injuries worsen and require further medical attention.

Additional Timing Considerations and Filing Deadlines After a Car Accident

In some states, several filing deadlines within the three-year timeframe exist.

For example, a person injured in a vehicular accident must file the initial accident report to the Department of Motor Vehicles in 10 days or less.

This is state law if (a) anyone was killed because of the accident, (b) someone was injured, or (c) if one or both parties incurred damages of more than $1,000.

What Can I Do to Prevent Delays in Receiving My Claim Settlement?

You can fight back against your insurance company if they try to delay your claim settlement. If you are in such a situation, here are some options you can practice:

  • Keep in touch with your insurer
  • Write a formal demand letter
  • Request a meeting with your insurance agent or their higher-ups
  • Mention bad faith
  • Take legal action

Note that the above are just suggestions. It’s always a good idea to consult an experienced personal injury attorney on these legal matters.

What Happens if a Settlement Claim Takes Longer Than Anticipated?

Determining the amount of time a vehicular accident settlement claim will require can be a tricky process. It’s best to speak to your attorney for the specifics.

There are many possible reasons why your personal injury or car accident settlement is taking extensive time to process. These reasons can be:

  • Insurance company negotiations
  • Crash investigation
  • Determining the fault
  • Reaching maximum medical improvement

If a settlement claim takes longer than expected, it may be due to factors like multiple parties or complex issues.

While it can be frustrating, patience is essential for a satisfactory resolution. Consulting with your attorney during delays is always the best course of action to navigate the process effectively.

Can My Insurance Company Deny My Claim?

As a general rule, the longer you wait to file a settlement claim, the harder it may be to resolve. If too much time has passed since the accident, it could be more difficult to establish the legitimacy of the evidence for your case.

This is especially true for bodily injuries, as it needs to be determined that the accident caused the injuries. The following are other reasons your insurance company can deny your settlement claim:

  • Further investigation indicated that false claims about the accidents were made
  • Your insurance policy does not cover the damage in question
  • The comprehensive damage or cost of collision to your vehicle is less than your policy’s deductible

What if the Insurance Company and I Cannot Agree?

You have the option to utilize the appraisal provision in your policy. Following this, both you and the insurance company will appoint a qualified appraiser.

These appraisers will, in turn, select an umpire. They will determine the Actual Cash Value (ACV) and the loss amount. If disagreements arise, the umpire steps in, and a decision by any two becomes binding.

The insurance company will cover the costs of the appraisers and umpire.

Settling a Car Accident Case May Be Advantageous

Opting for an out-of-court settlement can save time and costs, although it may not always be the most advantageous choice.

Settlement agreements don’t require defendants to admit guilt. If proving guilt is crucial for the plaintiff or the defendant’s settlement offer is insufficient, pursuing a trial may be the better course of action.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Do all car insurance claims require a police report?

Yes. In cases involving vehicle damage or bodily injury claims, a formal police report is typically essential. This report aids the insurance company in assessing fault and eliminating suspicions of foul play.

Additionally, suppose you plan to pursue damages legally against the other party. In that case, having a police report is a requirement.

2. How do I report an accident to my insurance company?

Reporting an accident to your insurance company is usually possible through phone, online platforms, or the company’s mobile app.

When filing a claim, you’ll likely need the police report, photos, videos, and detailed information about the motor vehicle accident—such as time, day, exact location, and involved parties.

Your insurer might also send an appraiser to assess the vehicle’s condition more closely.

3. Will every claim I file affect the rates of my car insurance?

When your insurance company deems you not at fault for an accident, your car insurance premium is likely unaffected by the incident.

Nonetheless, accidents can occur, and if you are concerned about future rate impacts, you might consider obtaining first-time accident forgiveness as optional coverage.

4. How bad does an injury have to be to claim?

The severity of an injury that warrants a claim is based on various factors, including the extent of physical harm, medical expenses, and the impact on your daily life.


  1. Typical Car Accident Settlement Amounts (2023)
  2. Property damage cases
  3. Filing an Auto Claim with the Other Party’s Insurance Company
  4. Non-Injury Vehicle Collisions
  5. Accident Checklist
  6. How long do you have to report a car accident to your insurance? |

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