Is there a time limit for filing an auto accident medical claim?

I was in an auto accident in 09/10. I was hit on the passenger side. I didn’t really feel any pain then and was just bruised. Now that a few months have passed I’m noticing that I can’t sleep on my right side, my arm/hand get numb and my shoulder pops. I did go after the accident to the doctor because I didn’t have medical insurance. Can I still seek medical help?

Asked on January 5, 2011 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I assume that the other driver was at fault in the auto accident. It is not uncommon for injuries to appear sometime after the accident as you are experiencing. You can still file a personal injury claim against the other driver's insurance carrier.  In CA, there is a two year statute of limitations in personal injury cases.  You can go to the doctor and when you complete your treatment and are released by the doctor, obtain your medical bills and a medical report.  The medical report will document the nature and extent of your injury and will determine the amount of compensation you receive for pain and suffering.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to your medical bills.  Your claim against the other driver's insurance carrier should include your medical bills, compensation for pain and suffering, and any wage loss.   Some doctors will accept a lien, which means they are paid out of the settlement of the case.

If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance carrier, you can file a lawsuit against the other driver for negligence.  If the case is not settled, you will need to file your lawsuit against the other driver prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.  In CA, there is a two year statute of limitations.  Your lawsuit would need to be filed prior to the two year anniversary of the accident.

 


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