Do I Have a Time Limit to File an Insurance Claim?
The insurance company is one of many entities you will need to contact after a collision. Other parties you will need to reach out to include the DMV and possibly law enforcement depending on the extent of damage and/or bodily injury. If the latter incurred and required medical assistance, then you may be eligible for filing an insurance claim. This is particularly true if the other driver bears the brunt of responsibility. You will most likely also need to get in touch with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer to analyze the circumstances of your case should you choose to file.
What Is the Timeframe?
We can’t just say you have X number of days to file a claim. The time you have differs depending on your state of residence and the policies of your insurance provider. Familiarize yourself with California’s timeframe since there is no national standard. Once the statute of limitation passed, it is very difficult to file a claim. There are, however, exceptions, which we explain below.
Timeline Under California Law
Under California law, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim. For property damage, you have three years. The reason for the timeframe is because injuries may not always manifest immediately after an accident. In fact, victims often feel fine, only for injuries to begin appearing within the following weeks or even months.
Since injuries may not appear right away, California allows you to also file within one year that the symptoms of the injury began manifesting. The start date in this instance is usually the date a doctor diagnosed you. Seeing a doctor is a must as there must be documentation from a licensed physician.
Once you had time to process with your family regarding the unfortunate turn of events, we suggest calling a Los Angeles car accident attorney. Contrary to what many people believe, a consultation is free, and most lawyers only collect a fee if your case is successful or there is a settlement.
Know the Insurance Company’s Own Deadline
Keep in mind the insurance companies have their own deadline that’s independent of state deadlines. If the insurance company specifies in its policy that you must file within one year, then you must do so within that timeframe. State law does not override a private insurance agency’s own deadline. Be absolutely certain to call your provider to be clear on all deadlines.
Accident with Government Vehicle
A special time limit also applies if the collision involved a government vehicle. In this instance, you have six months from the date of your injuries. The government has 45 days to respond. If they send you a rejection letter, then you have another six months to appeal and file a lawsuit in court. If a government entity fails to issue you any response letter, then you have the standard two years from the date of the accident to file a claim.
Legal Representation Is Paramount
Insurance companies will actively seek out any reason to deny your claim. If they have to pay out, they lose out financially. In some instances, they will make a monetary offer but at far below the sum of your accrued medical bills and other debt. For this reason, please do not accept the first offer from the insurance company. A lawyer can determine whether the offer is fair and just. At first glance, you may think the offer seems like a generous amount, only to later realize it’s far short of what you need to recuperate the cost of medical bills and lost wages.
Call an Accident Lawyer
You need a car accident lawyer to argue on your behalf in court. We know the days following an accident can be stressful if not traumatizing. Most car accident victims find that speaking with a lawyer puts their mind at ease. It gives them hope that they have a legitimate chance at a successful claim. Call Ellis Law Corporation to speak with a personal injury lawyer today. It’s a small first step that can make a big difference. 2 Acce