24/7 call for a free consultation 212-300-5196




When you’re facing a federal issue, you need an attorney whose going to be available 24/7 to help you get the results and outcome you need. The value of working with the Spodek Law Group is that we treat each and every client like a member of our family.

Client Testimonials



The BEST LAWYER ANYONE COULD ASK FOR!!! Todd changed our lives! He’s not JUST a lawyer representing us for a case. Todd and his office have become Family. When we entered his office in August of 2022, we entered with such anxiety, uncertainty, and so much stress. Honestly we were very lost. My husband and I felt alone. How could a lawyer who didn’t know us, know our family, know our background represents us, When this could change our lives for the next 5-7years that my husband was facing in Federal jail. By the time our free consultation was over with Todd, we left his office at ease. All our questions were answered and we had a sense of relief.

schedule a consultation


How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim Injury?

March 27, 2024

How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim Injury?

You just got into a car accident; and while you didn’t think you were injured at first, now a few days or weeks later you’re starting to feel pain. Can you still file an injury claim? The short answer is yes – but you’ll want to act quickly.In most states, you have a limited window of time (called the “statute of limitations”) to file a claim for injuries after a car accident. This window is usually between 1-3 years from the date of the accident, depending on the state. [https://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/auto-accident/time-limit-filing-car-accident-case.html] So if you wait too long, you could miss your chance to get compensated.But even with that time limit, it’s best to start the claims process as soon as you notice any injuries or pain. The longer you wait, the harder it may be to prove your injuries were actually caused by the accident. Insurance companies will be suspicious of claims filed long after a wreck.So let’s look at some common situations and how long you might have to file a claim:

You Felt Fine at First, But Pain Set in Later

This is extremely common, especially with soft tissue injuries like whiplash. The adrenaline from the accident can mask pain for hours or even days. As long as you file your claim within the statute of limitations for your state, you should be able to get compensated. [https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/when-should-i-file-my-car-accident-claim.html]The key is to see a doctor as soon as you notice symptoms and get it documented. Then file your claim promptly, while the evidence is fresh. Waiting too long makes it harder to tie your injuries directly to the accident.

You Thought Your Injuries Were Minor, But They Got Worse

Maybe you had some neck pain after the accident but it seemed manageable at first. Then over time, the pain spread and became debilitating. As long as you file within the statute of limitations, you can make a claim for these worsening injuries.Again, getting prompt medical treatment is crucial. It creates a paper trail tying your injuries to the accident. If you wait too long, the insurance company may argue your injuries were caused by something else.

You Discovered New Injuries Months Later

In some cases, injuries from a car accident don’t become apparent until much later. For example, a herniated disc in your spine may not cause symptoms right away. As long as you file your claim before the statute of limitations runs out, you should be able to recover compensation.However, the longer you wait, the tougher your case may be to prove. The insurance company will likely argue your injury was caused by something other than their insured driver’s negligence. Having thorough medical documentation will be key.

Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Injury Claims by State

Here are the statutes of limitations for filing an injury claim after a car accident in each U.S. state and territory:

State Statute of Limitations
Alabama 2 years
Alaska 2 years
Arizona 2 years
Arkansas 3 years
California 2 years
Colorado 3 years
Connecticut 2 years
Delaware 2 years
D.C. 3 years
Florida 4 years
Georgia 2 years
Hawaii 2 years
Idaho 2 years
Illinois 2 years
Indiana 2 years
Iowa 2 years
Kansas 2 years
Kentucky 1 year
Louisiana 1 year
Maine 6 years
Maryland 3 years
Massachusetts 3 years
Michigan 3 years
Minnesota 2 years
Mississippi 3 years
Missouri 5 years
Montana 3 years
Nebraska 4 years
Nevada 2 years
New Hampshire 3 years
New Jersey 2 years
New Mexico 3 years
New York 3 years
North Carolina 3 years
North Dakota 6 years
Ohio 2 years
Oklahoma 2 years
Oregon 2 years
Pennsylvania 2 years
Rhode Island 3 years
South Carolina 3 years
South Dakota 3 years
Tennessee 1 year
Texas 2 years
Utah 4 years
Vermont 3 years
Virginia 2 years
Washington 3 years
West Virginia 2 years
Wisconsin 3 years
Wyoming 4 years

As you can see, most states give you 2-3 years to file a claim for injuries after a car accident. But a few states have much shorter windows of just 1 year (Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee).A couple of outliers are Maine and North Dakota, which give you a generous 6 years to file. But in general, you’ll want to get your claim filed well before the statute of limitations expires.

Why You Shouldn’t Wait to File Your Injury Claim

While you technically have up to the statute of limitations to get your claim filed, there are several good reasons NOT to wait:

Evidence Can Disappear Quickly
Physical evidence like skid marks, damaged vehicles, and witnesses’ memories can deteriorate rapidly after an accident. If you wait too long, proving what actually happened can become very difficult.

Injuries Can Worsen Over Time
Some injuries, especially soft tissue damage, can get worse without proper medical treatment. Waiting to file your claim could allow your injuries to worsen unnecessarily.

The Insurer May Argue Your Injuries Came From Something Else
Insurance companies are always looking for ways to avoid paying out claims. If you wait several months or years to file, they’ll likely argue your injuries were caused by something other than their insured driver’s negligence.

You Could Miss the Statute of Limitations Entirely
While the statute of limitations may seem like a long time, it can sneak up on you quickly – especially if your injuries don’t appear right away. Miss the deadline and you may be barred from any recovery at all.For all these reasons, it’s best to file your injury claim as soon as possible after a car accident. The sooner you get the process started, the better your chances of getting full compensation.

How to File an Injury Claim After a Car Accident

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, here are the basic steps to file an injury claim:

  1. Notify the Insurance Company Right Away
    As soon as you discover you’ve been injured, notify the at-fault driver’s insurance company that you intend to file a claim. Get everything in writing.
  2. Seek Medical Treatment
    See a doctor right away and get your injuries properly documented, even if they seem minor at first. This creates a paper trail tying your injuries to the accident.
  3. Gather Evidence
    Collect evidence like photos of the accident scene, damage to the vehicles, witness statements, police reports, and your medical records and bills. This will help support your injury claim.
  4. Calculate Your Damages
    Add up all your accident-related costs, including medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. This gives you a baseline to negotiate from.
  5. Consider Hiring an Attorney
    While not required, having an experienced car accident lawyer on your side can greatly increase your chances of getting full compensation, especially for serious injuries.
  6. File Your Claim Before the Statute of Limitations Expires
    Once you have all your documentation together, file your official injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. But make sure to do it before your state’s statute of limitations runs out.
  7. Negotiate a Settlement or File a Lawsuit
    The insurance company will likely make a lowball settlement offer first. Your attorney can negotiate for more, and you may have to file a personal injury lawsuit if they refuse to pay fairly.

By taking these steps promptly after an accident, you preserve your right to compensation and put yourself in the best position to maximize your injury claim.

What If the Insurance Company Denies My Claim?

Even if you file your injury claim properly and within the time limit, the insurance company may still try to deny it or lowball their settlement offer. If this happens, you have a few options:

Respond With More Evidence
Provide additional documentation like updated medical records, expert testimony, or proof of lost income to counter their denial reasons

Negotiate for a Fair Settlement
With the help of an attorney, you can negotiate firmly with the insurance adjuster to get them to increase their settlement offer to an appropriate amount.

File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If the insurance company still refuses to pay out a fair settlement, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit and take them to court. An attorney can handle this process for you.

Request a Third-Party Review
Some states allow you to request an independent third-party review if the insurance company denies your claim in bad faith.The key is to be persistent and not just accept the insurance company’s initial denial or lowball offer. With the right evidence and legal representation, you can fight for the full compensation you deserve.

Factors That Can Affect Your Injury Claim Timeline

While the statute of limitations sets the outer time limit, several other factors can affect how quickly you need to file your injury claim:

The Severity of Your Injuries
The more serious your injuries, the sooner you’ll want to get your claim filed. Severe injuries mean higher medical costs and more urgency to get compensated.

Whether Fault Is Clear
If the other driver was clearly at fault (ran a red light, rear-ended you, etc.), you may have more time before the insurer disputes liability. But if fault is murky, act quickly.

The Insurance Company’s Tactics
Some insurers are known for delaying and denying claims to save money. If you’re dealing with one of these companies, get your claim in ASAP.

Your State’s Laws
A few states have special rules that can shorten or extend the time to file an injury claim after an accident. An attorney can advise you on your state’s specifics.

Whether You Hire a Lawyer
Having an experienced car accident attorney on your side means they can handle the process for you and ensure all deadlines are met.The bottom line is that the sooner you can file your injury claim after a car accident, the better – especially if you have serious injuries or are dealing with an uncooperative insurance company.

Delayed Injury Symptoms to Watch Out For

Some of the most common delayed injury symptoms after a car accident include:

  • Headaches – Can be a sign of a concussion or other head/neck trauma
  • Neck or shoulder pain – Whiplash injuries often take time to appear
  • Back pain – Spinal injuries like herniated discs may not cause immediate pain
  • Abdominal pain – Could indicate internal bleeding or organ damage
  • Numbness/tingling – May signal nerve damage in the back or neck
  • Changes in personality/cognition – Traumatic brain injuries can have delayed effects
  • PTSD symptoms – Anxiety, flashbacks, and other mental trauma can develop over time

If you experience any new or worsening symptoms after a car accident, even weeks or months later, see a doctor right away. Prompt medical treatment creates documentation to support an injury claim.

Don’t Wait – File Your Injury Claim ASAP

While you technically have up to the statute of limitations to file an injury claim after a car accident, it’s almost always better to act quickly. The longer you wait, the harder it becomes to prove your injuries were caused by the accident and get the full compensation you deserve.As soon as you discover any injuries, seek medical treatment and notify the at-fault driver’s insurance company of your intent to file a claim. Then gather all the evidence and documentation you can. Consider hiring an experienced car accident attorney to handle the process and negotiate with the insurance company.By filing your injury claim promptly and properly, you preserve your legal rights and put yourself in the best position to recover maximum compensation for your injuries, lost income, and pain and suffering. Don’t let the statute of limitations sneak up on you – the sooner you take action, the better

Lawyers You Can Trust

Todd Spodek

Founding Partner

view profile



view profile


Associate Attorney

view profile



view profile



view profile



view profile



view profile

Criminal Defense Lawyers Trusted By the Media

schedule a consultation
Schedule Your Consultation Now