How long do you have to file a claim for a car accident?

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How long do you have to file a claim for a car accident?

Asked on January 5, 2013 under Accident Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

In terms of the law, the effective time limit for filing a claim for an automobile accident is defined by the statute of limitations, or time limit on how long you would have to sue. That is because once you can no longer sue (too much time has passed), there is no way to legally enforce your claim. (And note: since you want to leave yourself time to actually file a lawsuit if necessary, do NOT wait until the end of the limitations period--leave yourself at least 6 months time.) The statute of limitions for personal injury (i.e. injury to a person) is 2 years in your state; the statute of limitations for injury to personal property (e.g. your car) is 5 years. Therefore, you can--if you leave yourself the recommended 6 month "cushion" to file an action--take up to 1 1/2 years to file a claim for personal injury, or 4 1/2 years for property damage.

However, that's under the law. If submitting a claim to your own insurer, you will also be bound by any time limits built into your policy. Therefore, review your policy to see when you must submit claims. Any limits in the policy are enforceable as contractual terms to which you agreed.


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