Car accident injuries can be slow to present themselves. Injuries like whiplash or even emotional trauma can evolve over time. Injured victims may have walked away from an accident only later to realize they were injured. Many wonder, how long after a car accident can you claim an injury?

Many people believe you must report an accident to your insurance company as soon as it happens. However, there are many scenarios by which you may need to wait or should wait before reporting an accident and then filing a claim. Outside of a minor accident, it’s best to consult with a car accident attorney about your case before getting into negotiations with an insurance company. While you are obligated to report the accident, you do not have to immediately agree to give a recorded statement. And, you do not have to immediately file a claim.

Why wait to file a claim after a car accident?

For many injury accidents, it may make sense to wait to file a claim after a car accident. The reason being is if you don’t yet know your prognosis and what to expect for medical bills and outcomes, you don’t know how much compensation to seek in your claim. For instance, if you suffer internal injuries and broken bones, it may take months for you to fully recover and heal. You may even require ongoing physical therapy or other types of treatment to improve or maintain your health.

Until you’ve reached what’s known as maximum medical improvement (MMI), you won't know if a settlement is fair. Once you agree to and accept a settlement, you can’t go back and seek additional compensation if you later realize what you accepted won’t be enough to cover your bills and other losses. For this reason, injured victims are advised to wait to file a claim until you have reached MMI. This doesn’t mean that you haven’t reported the accident, rather you are waiting to file an injury claim.

Statute of Limitations for Filing an Injury Claim after a Car Accident

Every insurance company has a different timeline for reporting an accident. Most encourage their customers to report the accident as soon as possible. Again, this does not mean you have to immediately agree to a recorded statement or sign a blanket medical records waiver release. Rather, you must report the accident to your insurance company.

In order to seek and file a legal claim or lawsuit, every state has a different time limit for filing after a car accident. And, those time limits may depend on if you are filing a claim for bodily injury, property damage or both. In New Jersey and Connecticut, the statute of limitation is two years. In New York, the limit is three years.

Reporting an Accident to the Police

Many states require drivers to report accidents, even if police aren’t called or don’t come to the scene. Under New Jersey’s Division of Motor Vehicles law, if a driver is involved in a car accident, he or she is required to report it to law enforcement if the crash involved more than $500 of property damage. In New York, the threshold for reporting is $1000 worth of damage or any injury. 

In other words, if you’re ever in a car accident and it looks like the property damage meets your state’s threshold, you must report the crash to the police. Even a minor fender-bender may have more than $500 or $1000 worth of property damage, so it’s always best to call the police to the scene. If that’s no longer possible, you can also report the accident online.

Get Help with an Injury Claim after a Car Accident

We get it. Car accidents can impact on your health, well-being, and finances which can cause worry, fear, and anxiety -- for you and your family. We have decades of experience championing for our clients and succeeding, even when other attorneys say there is no case and insurance adjusters deny or devalue your claim. 

At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we believe in exceptional client care, empathy, and results. That’s what makes us one of the top-rated car accident law firms in the area. With offices in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, we’ve got you covered. We’ve helped people just like you move forward after sustaining an injury that was caused by another’s negligence. Contact us today for a free consultation.


Posted by: Brandon J. Bro…
Date: Thu, 03/10/2022 - 22:47

Still have questions?

Speak to an attorney today

Call now and be done