How long after a car accident you can file a claim depends on your state’s statute of limitations. In Georgia, O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33 allows up to two years from your collision or your loved one’s passing to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
While this deadline does not strictly apply to insurance claims, you want to ensure you leave ample time to negotiate a fair settlement so you can still take legal action if you cannot reach an agreement with the insurer.
Can Delaying a Car Accident Claim Can Hurt Your Case?
Yes. Waiting too long to file an insurance claim after an accident can hurt your chances of securing a successful settlement. To start, waiting may cause the insurance company to allege that your injuries or property damages did not occur during the accident. Delaying could also mean losing evidence as vehicles get fixed, injuries heal, the crash site gets cleaned up, and witnesses’ memories fade.
You should report your accident to the insurance company as soon as possible. Many policies state that you should file a claim within 24 hours of a collision, but time limits vary, and these deadlines are not hard and fast. You also need to alert authorities. According to O.C.G.A. § 40-6-273, you must immediately notify local law enforcement of accidents involving injury, death, or more than $500 in vehicle damage.
Also, as mentioned, how long after a car accident you can file a claim also hinges on Georgia’s two-year statute of limitations. If you must take legal action, failing to do so within this deadline will likely lead to the court throwing out your case. Furthermore, if the statute expires, the insurance company may deny or reduce your settlement.
What If You Do Not Immediately Realize You Suffered an Injury?
Not all car accident injuries present immediately. For example, you may have broken bones, internal injuries, whiplash, or other conditions that are not apparent until days or even weeks after your collision. For this reason, you should consider seeking treatment even if you refused medical care at the scene. Seeing a doctor can prevent undiagnosed injuries from worsening and creates a medical record for your case.
As soon as you know you suffered an injury, you should contact the insurance company and file a claim for your medical expenses and other damages. The clock on the statute of limitations begins when your injury occurred or was reasonably discovered. If your loved one died from a car accident injury, you have two years from their passing to file a wrongful death case.
For a free legal consultation, call 404-214-2001
Recoverable Car Accident Compensation
If a negligent driver or another liable party caused your car accident, you can pursue compensation for your losses. Every case is different, and the damages available to you will depend on the details of your case, the severity of your injuries, your recovery, and other factors unique to you. In general, you can seek awards for
- Ambulance transportation and emergency medical treatment
- Hospital stays
- Physical therapy
- Mobility aids
- Long-term nursing services
- Lost income
- Lost future earning capacity
- Vehicle repair or replacement costs
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional distress
- Lost quality of life
- Wrongful death of a loved one
Georgia Insurance Requirements
The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance and Safety Fire states that motorists in Georgia must carry $25,000 in bodily injury liability insurance for injuries to one person, $50,000 for injuries to two or more people, and $25,000 in property damage liability. Drivers can also carry additional policies, including uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage or collision coverage.
A lawyer with our firm can review your case and help you file a claim against an at-fault driver. If the liable party’s coverage does not fully satisfy your losses, we will explore other options for seeking compensation, including pursuing a lawsuit.
Do You Need a Lawyer to File a Car Accident Claim?
You can file a claim without legal representation. However, hiring an attorney can provide you with an ally with insurance and legal experience who can build your case and look out for your best interests. A lawyer with our firm can:
- Identify liable parties and prove negligence
- Collect police reports, eyewitness statements, medical records, photographs, videos, and other evidence
- Calculate your losses and establish your right to compensation
- Prepare and file your claims paperwork
- Track and adhere to deadlines
- Communicate with insurers or opposing counsel
- Negotiate for the maximum available settlement
- File a lawsuit and represent you at trial if necessary
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Kaine Law Can Help
Do not let your time to seek compensation expire. Contact Kaine Law today for a free consultation and learn how our Georgia personal injury lawyers can help you pursue your case before time runs out.
Call or text 404-214-2001 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form