Car Accident Claim Deadlines – All 50 States

Car Accident Claim Deadlines - All 50 States

If you were injured in a car accident, how long do you have to file a claim? Here are the car accident claim deadlines (car accident statute of limitations) in all 50 states.

When you are injured in a car accident, you only have a limited amount of time to file an insurance claim. If you wait too long, your claim will expire, and you will lose your ability to recover just compensation for your medical bills, loss of income, pain and suffering, and other losses. Car accident claim deadlines (or statutes of limitations) vary by state; so, in order to determine how long you have to file a claim, you need to review your state’s law.

We have compiled the car accident statutes of limitations for all 50 states. Scroll down or choose a link below to find out how long you have to file your car accident claim:

Car Accident Statute of Limitations: States Beginning with A through G

State
Car Accident Claim Deadline (for Injury Claims)
State Statute of Limitations
Alabama2 yearsAlabama Statutes § 6-2-38(l)
Alaska2 yearsAlaska Statutes § 09.10.070
Arizona2 yearsArizona Revised Statutes § 12-542
Arkansas3 yearsArkansas Code § 16-56-105
California2 yearsCalifornia Code of Civil Procedure § 335.1
Colorado3 yearsColorado Revised Statutes § 13-80-101(1)(n)(1)
Connecticut2 yearsConnecticut General Statutes § 52-584
Delaware2 yearsDelaware Code § 8119
Florida4 yearsFlorida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a)
Georgia2 yearsGeorgia Code § 9-3-33

5 Important Facts about the Car Accident Statute of Limitations

Do you have a car accident insurance claim? If so, here are five important facts you need to know about the deadline for filing your claim:

1. The statute of limitations is a hard and fast deadline.

With only very limited exceptions, the statute of limitations is a hard and fast deadline. If you miss one of the car accident claim deadlines by even a day, you could entirely lose your right to a financial recovery.

2. The statute of limitations for car accident claims varies by state.

As you can see just from the first 10 states listed above, car accident statutes of limitations vary. While the statute of limitations in each of these states is either two, three, or four years, you will see more variation in the states listed below.

3. The car accident statute of limitations is not necessarily the same as the personal injury statute of limitations.

While car accident claims are subject to the general personal injury statute of limitations in most states, this is not universally the case. As a result, when determining how long you have to file a claim, you need to look to see if your state has a law that is specific to car accident claim deadlines.

4. Some states have statutes of limitations that are specific to PIP claims.

A very small number of states have different limitations periods for personal injury protection (PIP) and other types of car accident claims. If this is true in your state, you will need to make sure you file all of your claims by the relevant car accident claim deadlines.

5. The deadline for filing your claim is calculated based on the date of your accident.

If your state’s car accident statute of limitations is two years, what does this mean exactly? It means that you have two years from the date of your accident to file a claim. Even if you wait to seek medical treatment, this delay in discovering your injuries will not impact the date that your car accident claim expires.

Car Accident Statute of Limitations: States Beginning with H through M

State
Car Accident Claim Deadline (for Injury Claims)
State Statute of Limitations
Hawaii2 yearsHawaii Revised Statutes § 657-7
Idaho2 yearsIdaho Code § 5-219(4)
Illinois2 yearsIllinois Compiled Statutes Chapter 110, § 13-202 (735 ILCS 5/13-202)
Indiana2 yearsIndiana Code § 34-11-2-4
Iowa2 yearsIowa Code § 614.1(2)
Kansas2 yearsKansas Statutes § 60-513
Kentucky1 yearKentucky Revised Statutes § 413.140(1)
Louisiana1 yearLouisiana Statutes Civil Code Article 3492
Maine6 yearsMaine Revised Statutes Title 14, § 753
Maryland3 yearsMaryland Courts & Judicial Proceedings Article § 5-101
Massachusetts3 yearsMassachusetts General Laws Chapter 260, § 2A
Michigan3 years; 1 year for personal injury protection (PIP) claimsMichigan Compiled Laws § 600.5805 and § 500.3145
Minnesota2 yearsMinnesota Statutes § 541.05(1)(5)
Mississippi3 yearsMississippi Code § 15-1-49
Missouri5 yearsMissouri Revised Statutes § 516.120(4)
Montana3 yearsMontana Statutes § 27-2-204

What Happens if the Statute of Limitations for Your Car Accident Claim Expires?

As we mentioned above, if the statute of limitations for your car accident claim expires, you will lose your ability to recover your accident-related losses. This is a consequence that most car accident victims cannot afford; and, as a result, it is extremely important to make sure you file your claim on time.

How can accident victims avoid missing their car accident claim deadlines? The best way is to hire a lawyer right after the collision. If you contact a lawyer promptly, the car accident statute of limitations shouldn’t be an issue. But, if you have waited a year or longer to think about filing a claim, then it will be especially important for you to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.

Car Accident Statute of Limitations: States Beginning with N through O

State
Car Accident Claim Deadline (for Injury Claims)
State Statute of Limitations
Nebraska4 yearsNebraska Revised Statutes § 25-207
Nevada2 yearsNevada Revised Statutes § 11.190(4)(e)
New Hampshire3 yearsNew Hampshire Revised Statutes § 508:4(I)
New Jersey2 yearsNew Jersey Statutes § 2A:14-2
New Mexico3 yearsNew Mexico Statutes § 37-1-8
New York3 yearsNew York Civil Practice Law & Rules § 214
North Carolina3 yearsNorth Carolina General Statutes § 1-52
North Dakota6 yearsNorth Dakota Century Code § 28-01-16
Ohio2 yearsOhio Revised Code § 2305.10(A)
Oklahoma2 yearsOklahoma Statutes Title 12, § 95
Oregon2 yearsOregon Revised Statutes § 12.110(1)

Tips for Making Sure You File Your Car Accident Claim By Your State’s Deadline

While two or three years (or more) might seem like a long time, if you are not careful you could accidentally let your claim expire. With this in mind, here are five tips for making sure you file your car accident claim by your state’s deadline:

1. See a doctor promptly.

Once you receive a diagnosis and begin to understand the costs of your car accident, you will likely want to get started on your claim as soon as possible.

2. Make note of the deadline to file your claim.

Put a note in your phone with reminders about when the deadline to file your car accident claim expires.

3. Contact a lawyer promptly.

Once you hire a lawyer to represent you, your lawyer will make sure that you do not run out of time to file your car accident claim.

4. Communicate with your lawyer regularly.

In order to file your claim, your lawyer will need information from you. As a result, in order to preserve your claim, you should respond to all questions and requests from your lawyer promptly.

5. Do not let the insurance companies drag out your claim.

The longer your claim takes, the closer it will get to the date that your claim is set to expire. Stay on top of your insurance claim, and do not let the insurance companies delay payment any longer than is reasonably necessary.

Car Accident Statute of Limitations: States Beginning with P through W

State
Car Accident Claim Deadline (for Injury Claims)
State Statute of Limitations
Pennsylvania2 yearsPennsylvania Code § 5524(7)
Rhode Island3 yearsRhode Island General Laws § 9-1-14(b)
South Carolina3 yearsSouth Carolina Code of Laws § 15-3-530
South Dakota3 yearsSouth Dakota Code of Laws § 15-2-14
Tennessee1 yearTennessee Code Annotated § 28-3-104(a)(1)(A)
Texas2 yearsTexas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003
Utah4 yearsUtah Code § 78B-2-307
Vermont3 yearsVermont Statutes Title 12, § 512(4)
Virginia2 yearsCode of Virginia § 8.01-243(A)
Washington3 yearsRevised Code of Washington § 4.16.080(2)
West Virginia2 yearsWest Virginia Code § 55-2-12
Wisconsin3 yearsWisconsin Statutes § 893.54(1m)(a)
Wyoming4 yearsWyoming Statutes § 1-3-105(a)

*The car accident statutes of limitations for all 50 states listed above were last reviewed in 2020. You should review your state’s law to make sure you know how long you have to file your claim; and, regardless of how long you have until your car accident claim expires, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible.

 

Important: The Deadline for Filing a Property Damage Claim May Be Different in Your State

The tables above list all 50 states’ statutes of limitations for filing injury claims related to car accidents. The deadline for filing your property damage claim may be different. However, most people want to get their car fixed as soon as possible; and, as a practical matter, the property damage filing deadline is rarely an issue for most people.

With that said, you do not want to lose your property damage claim either. When you hire a lawyer to represent you, your lawyer can help ensure that you file all of your claims on time.

Contact a lawyer to learn about the car accident claim deadlines (car accident statute of limitations) in all 50 states

FAQs: What Do You Need to Know about the Car Accident Statute of Limitations?

Q: What is a statute of limitations, and how does it affect my car accident insurance claim?

A statute of limitations is the legal deadline for asserting a legal claim. In order to secure financial compensation for your accident-related losses (i.e. medical bills, lost income, and emotional trauma), you will need to file your claim before the car accident statute of limitations expires. As a result, it is very important to know what to do after a car accident so that you can make sure you are able to file a successful claim.

Q: Is there a different deadline for filing a car insurance claim after an accident?

The statute of limitations establishes the deadline for filing a legal claim in court. Technically, the deadline for filing your insurance claim may be different. Insurance policies require drivers to report their claims promptly, and there is a possibility that your insurance company could attempt to deny coverage on the grounds that you violated your policy by waiting too long to file your claim.

While some auto insurance policies establish specific car accident claim deadlines (which are typically much shorter than the statute of limitations—somewhere in the range of 30 to 90 days), many policies require drivers to report car accidents “promptly” or “as soon as reasonably possible.” If your insurance company attempts to deny coverage based on an alleged delay, you should consult with an attorney—as it may be possible to overcome this denial.

Q: Does filing an auto insurance claim by the deadline satisfy the statute of limitations?

No, and this is important. Filing an auto insurance claim does not satisfy the statute of limitations. Filing an insurance claim is something you do with your insurance company. Filing a formal legal claim is something you do in court. If the deadline for filing your car accident claim is getting close to expiring, you will need to hire a lawyer to initiate a lawsuit in order to protect your claim for damages.

Q: Are there any exceptions to the car accident statute of limitations?

Yes, there are exceptions that can both shorten and extend the car accident statute of limitations under varying circumstances. Extensions are rare, and there is no reason to wait to file your claim any longer than necessary (although if the limitations period for your claim has expired, it will still be worth it to ask a lawyer if an exception may apply). The more important issue is that the statute of limitations can be shortened in some cases.

Specifically, if you have a claim against a government agency (i.e. for a road defect or an accident involving a construction zone), then you will have to file a “notice of claim” within a fairly short time period—this time period is measured in days rather than years. Additionally if you have a “dram shop law” claim against an establishment that overserved a drunk driver, this claim may be subject to a shortened statute of limitations as well.

Q: What information do I need to file a car accident claim before the statute of limitations expires?

In order to file a lawsuit to stop the statute of limitations for your car accident claim from expiring, you will need sufficient information to prepare a formal Complaint that you can file in the appropriate court. While this is something you can do on your own, it is also something that you can – and should – hire a lawyer to do for you. Pleading requirements vary by state; and, if you unsuccessfully attempt to file a Complaint on your own, the statute of limitations for your car accident claim could still expire.

Speak with a Lawyer about Your Car Accident Claim

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