How Long After a Car Accident Can I File an Injury Claim?
In 2019, there were 6,756,000 police-reported motor vehicle crashes, however, it is estimated there could be as many as 10 million car collisions that are not reported. You might wonder why those involved in a car accident would skip filing a car accident injury claim. If there was no significant damage to the vehicles or obvious injuries, the two drivers might simply agree to go on their way without contacting the police.
Sometimes, this is because one or both drivers have no auto insurance, other times the person who was not at fault may have been drinking or could have drugs in their system so are not anxious to have the police show up. The other driver is happy to “get off” without getting ticketed and having the accident reported to their insurance company. Finally, some drivers mean to file an injury claim, then for one reason or another simply do not get around to it until it’s too late. When the statute of limitations for a car accident is missed, then a claim cannot be filed.
The statutes of limitations govern the window of time you have in which to file a claim following a car accident. These statutes vary from state to state; in the state of Louisiana, the statute of limitations for a car accident is quite short—just one year. So, you have one year from the date of your car accident to file a claim and if you are even one day past that one year, you will not be able to file a claim for your damages.
It is important that you contact an experienced car accident injury attorney from New Orleans Legal who can ensure you do not exceed your window of time. We can help you collect compensation for your injuries, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages within the allotted time. At New Orleans Legal, we have a deep belief in the power of team effort.
We work with a team of professionals including a network of top-notch medical doctors who can get you the care you need, without delay. Additionally, we have investigators to ensure there is no stone left unturned when investigating your case, and we have experts in accident reconstruction to ensure your case is fully supported. New Orleans Legal is ready to be the advocate in your corner who will aggressively fight for your rights and your future.
What is the Statute of Limitations on Car Accident Injury Claims in Louisiana?
As noted, each state sets its own statutes of limitations and Louisiana has a particularly short statute of one year from the date of the accident. In the case of fatal car accidents, the statute of limitations is also one year for the surviving family members to file a wrongful death action in court. There are certain exceptions to the statute, and while an experienced New Orleans attorney is the best source of information, generally speaking, those exceptions include:
- When a minor under the age of 18 is injured in a car accident, the one-year statute does not begin until the minor turns 18, regardless of his or her age at the time of the accident.
- When multiple vehicles are involved in a car accident, it can require extensive investigation to determine who is at fault for the accident and your injuries. While you are still required to file your claim against at least one liable party within the one-year deadline, you can conceivably add additional parties after the expiration of the one year.
- If your car accident is the result of a defective auto part or mechanical failure, it could take more than a year to determine the actual cause of the accident, so the one-year statute will not begin until you know the cause of the accident.
Statutes of limitations on filing a car accident injury claim are in place so a lawsuit cannot hang over the head of the defendant for years. On a practical level, it can be much harder to prove fault and pursue a settlement if years have gone by since the accident. Evidence may have gone missing, memories may fade, and witnesses could have moved away.
Should You Proceed with Payment or On Working with Your Insurance Company?
In most cases, you really have little choice regarding proceeding with medical treatments and getting your vehicle fixed. You may have no other vehicle to drive and perhaps do not have rental vehicle coverage on your insurance policy so you must get it fixed as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, your own insurance company is unlikely to pay for the damages to your vehicle until they know for sure which driver is at fault, so you would be paying out-of-pocket.
In the same vein, you must get your injuries attended to—it is simply not practical or wise to remain injured, with no treatment, until you receive a settlement. If you have health insurance, it should pay for your injuries, then when you receive a settlement, you may have to use some of the money to repay your health insurer. Speaking to a knowledgeable attorney from New Orleans Legal can help you determine the best course of action to take for you, your family, and your future.
Why Should You Have an Attorney File Your Injury Claim?
Insurance companies simply have more respect for those who are legally represented when filing a car accident injury claim. Once you have an attorney on your case, the insurance company is unlikely to attempt to deny or delay your settlement because they know your attorney will not allow such behavior. Further, your attorney is able to know exactly what your claim is worth. Your attorney knows to consider not only what your injuries and other damages have cost up to this point but to accurately determine what they will cost in the future. Having an experienced car accident attorney from New Orleans Legal can make all the difference in the final settlement amount for your car accident.
How an Experienced Car Accident Attorney from New Orleans Legal Can Help
Filing a car accident injury claim can be a daunting experience for someone who has never done so. When you also have to consider the statute of limitations that govern your car accident, it simply does not make sense to try and file a car accident claim on your own. We know you have choices when choosing a New Orleans car accident attorney and we hope you will consider scheduling a free consultation with attorney Peter Diiorio to discuss your situation, determine your options, and proceed with your claim. Contact New Orleans Legal today for experienced legal representation.