Car accidents can be a scary experience. In the craziness following the accident, you may not notice right away that you were injured because of the accident. As injuries appear over time, you may wonder, “how long after a car accident can I claim injury?”
While it’s always best to file claims related to the accident as soon as possible, you need to know about a couple of deadlines if you’ve waited to file an insurance claim.
What Kind of Injuries Can You Get From a Car Accident?
Being in a car crash can give the vehicle’s occupants a variety of injuries. Because each accident’s severity and details are different, there’s not a single list of possible injuries after being a victim of a car accident. Here’s a list of some of the most common injuries we see after our clients have been in Florida car accidents:
Some of these injuries will be very obvious and apparent at the accident scene.
Other injuries, like bruising, internal injuries, or muscle strains, can take longer to appear. You might think you’re okay after an accident or think those aches and pains are normal.
Get Yourself Checked Out After You Met An Accident
No matter how “normal” something might feel, it’s always best to get checked out after you’ve been in an auto accident. When emergency medical professionals arrive at the accident scene, allow them to check you for injuries and seek additional medical treatment.
EMTs, paramedics, nurses, and doctors are trained to look for signs and symptoms that signal injuries that can’t be seen. Take the time to answer questions honestly.
Immediately after the auto accident, call 911 if you’re able. Cooperate with the police and medical professionals who arrive on the scene so they can begin their investigation and reporting.
You’ll want to have medical records showing your treatment for the injuries. Your insurance company typically requires this documentation as part of your injury claim.
How Do I Know My Injury Came From the Car Accident?
Medical records will be vital in determining this before and after the auto accident. These show that injuries happened or were made worse because of being involved in the accident.
Even if you had an injury before the accident, it could have been made worse because of the accident. Your medical provider will know what questions to ask, tests to run, and documentation to provide to your insurance company and attorney.
A personal injury attorney will work with you to gather the documentation to show when your injury began and if it was aggravated by the accident. They’ll also work with the insurance adjuster to provide any necessary information regarding your medical care related to the traffic accident.
Why Should I Wait to File an Insurance Claim?
When you’re making your auto insurance company aware that you were in an accident, they’ll likely want to start the claim process. Is there a reason you should wait to file a claim?
One of the most common reasons for waiting to file a claim is that you don’t know the extent of the damage to your vehicle or the injuries received in the accident.
Your claim may have two parts – a property damage claim and a personal injury claim to help cover medical bills and other expenses related to injuries from the auto accident.
By filing personal injury claims without knowing the full extent of your injuries, you may lose out on the compensation you’re entitled to. Until the full extent of your injuries is known, agreeing to a settlement could mean you won’t have enough money for future medical care or lost wages.
Waiting to file a car accident claim with your insurance company can mean a delayed payment, so you’ll have to pay for repairs and medical bills out of pocket. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you receive the care you deserve and track those expenses as part of your claim.
If you decide to wait to file a claim, be sure to document everything immediately following the accident, so you don’t forget any details related to the accident. Make copies of any receipts, keep witness contact information, print out pictures you took at the scene of the accident, and write out everything you can remember about the details surrounding the accident.
The most important thing to remember is the deadline. No matter how severe your injuries are from the motor vehicle accident, the insurance company can deny your personal injury claim if you miss the filing deadline, leaving you with no settlement or compensation.
How Do I File a Personal Injury Claim?
You’ll need to be aware of two different deadlines for filing personal injury claims: the insurance company’s deadline to file an insurance claim and the statute of limitations to sue.
While you must file a claim to be compensated for injuries and damages during the auto accident, don’t rush into filing a claim with your insurance company, not knowing the full extent of your injuries.
Don’t rush to sign a settlement no matter how much you need the money to pay your medical bills. Before signing anything, it’s best to consult with an experienced attorney. The insurance company is looking out for their best interest. It would help if you had someone looking out for you and your best interests as well
Regardless of when you decide to file a claim, you’ll need a police report from the accident. Even if police aren’t called to the scene of the accident, in Florida, you’re still required to contact the police within ten days of the accident to file paperwork.
Your Insurance Company
Depending on your insurance company, you may have up to 24 hours from the date to inform them of the accident. You don’t need to file a claim at that time. Just let them know you’ve been involved in an accident.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
In Florida, your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance policy requires you to seek medical attention within 14 days of the car accident. Failing to seek medical attention could cause your claim to be denied.
Watch out for terms like “promptly” or “within a reasonable time” for deadlines for filing your claims. Because these aren’t measurable periods, insurance companies can deny claims for not being filed promptly enough. Even though the insurance company established no specific timeline or deadline, they can do this.
Statute of Limitations
In Florida, you have four years from the day of the accident to sue. While you have up to four years to reach the statute of limitations, it’s best not to wait until the last minute to file a claim with your insurance company. It can take time to file the claim and work through mediation with the insurance company if needed.
When you’re unable to reach an agreement and have to move forward with litigation, you want to have time to file the proper paperwork to sue the at-fault driver and car insurance company before the statute of limitations deadline is reached.
Filing with the Other Driver’s Insurance Company
Besides filing a claim with your auto insurance company, you may file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company and with your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance policy. Get the information of the at-fault party after the accident if possible. You will need basic contact information like the driver’s name and phone number and their auto insurance information.
In case the other driver doesn’t have insurance
If the other driver doesn’t have insurance, you’ll need to look at getting legal representation when you’re seeking compensation. Your lawyer can help you recover compensation for medical expenses and other costs associated with your car accident case. Financial compensation for a personal injury lawsuit encompasses pain and suffering, lost wages, and a rental car.
Can an Attorney Help Me Get a Fair Settlement?
Yes, We recommend working with an accident attorney after auto accidents. If you’re the victim of a car accident, reach out to a local attorney who specializes in car accident and personal injury cases. They’ll talk with you about your case and offer you advice specific to your lawsuit.
Many attorneys will offer a free case evaluation and consultation. During a consultation, an attorney will ask questions about your case. Use this opportunity to ensure they’re the best fit for your case. Be prepared to ask questions to help you decide about moving forward with an attorney. You’ll also want to be ready to answer a few questions the attorney has for you. This way, they can give you the most accurate advice and information for your case.
Call us today at (800) 800 – 4300, and we’ll connect you with a personal injury lawyer. Our legal team will walk you through the steps you need to take before you take legal action regarding your Florida car accident. We will work to help you get the compensation you deserve during your free consultation and the entire attorney-client relationship.