How Long After An Accident Can You Claim?

In America, every state has its own Statute of Limitations. The Statute of Limitation is the time you’re allowed to take to sue, before your claim can be rejected for taking too long. 

For example, if you were hit by a car in 2010, but only decided to claim for the accident in 2020, so much time will have passed that it wouldn’t be reasonable for your case to go through. Your case will be rejected regardless of whether your claim was legitimate. 

To make sure your claim doesn’t take too long to process, you should talk to a local lawyer who knows the Statute of Limitations in your state. They will prioritize your claim based on the time frame. 

Take personal injury lawyer Jelena Tiemann, for instance. She is based in California and knows that a personal injury claim has a limitation of 2 years in this state. However, she is also aware that the Governor has made special expectations for cases stuck in pandemic-related delays.

But what about the other states?

Statute Of Limitations For Injury Claims – By State

In alphabetical order for every state, you’ll find the maximum length of time you can wait before claiming on your accident.

  • Alabama – 2 years
  • Alaska – 2 years
  • Arizona – 2 years
  • Arkansas – 2 years
  • California – 2 years, but there are expectations for pandemic-related delays
  • Colorado – 2 years in general, but 3 years for vehicle-related accidents
  • Connecticut – 2 years
  • Delaware – 2 years
  • District of Columbia – 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 in general, but 2 years for vehicle-related accidents
  • 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

When The Accident Was In A Different State

To make your claim you need to follow the laws in the state your accident occurred in. This means, if you live in Virginia but the accident happened in Louisiana, the Statute of Limitations will be 1 year instead of 2 years.

You can still hire a lawyer in your own state, however, they may not be qualified to deal with issues in the state where your accident took place. 

When hiring a lawyer, you have three options. The first is to hire a lawyer in the state the accident took place in. However, this brings up the issue of travel. The lawyer may need to see you face-to-face causing delays to your case and larger expenses to the process.

The second is to hire a lawyer in your home state, who has the qualifications to handle issues in the accident state. It may be difficult to find such a business, but if you locate one you’ll be able to visit them easily and be confident in their knowledge of the accident state.

The third option is to hire a lawyer in your home state, who isn’t qualified to handle issues in the accident state. In this instance, the company may have connections to the accident state and become a third party communicator. They would handle any face-to-face interactions and pass on the information to their connection in the accident state. The issue with this method is the additional cost of hiring two firms.

No-Fault States

In a No-Fault State, your claim won’t go to court unless it absolutely has to. Instead, each party in a car accident will get compensation from their insurance providers. It doesn’t matter who is to blame as no one is at fault.

These states are:

  • Florida
  • Utah
  • Hawaii
  • Pennsylvania
  • Kansas
  • North Dakota
  • Kentucky
  • New York
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • Minnesota
  • Michigan

If your vehicle accident was in one of the above states, don’t be afraid of a rejected claim. You should still receive compensation, even if it was your fault.

Summary

Most states will let you claim for an accident as long as it happened no more than 2 years ago. However, every state has a different statute of limitations law.