Avoiding Legal Trouble

Common Questions About Car Accidents And Statute Of Limitations

The statute of limitations sets a time limit that a person can file a claim for a car accident. This time is set by the state, and you will need to seek damages within this timeframe or you lose your ability to claim compensation. Here are the four most common questions about car accidents and statute of limitations.

How Long Do You Have to File a Claim for a Car Accident?

As mentioned, the time depends on the state. In most cases, the time will be between one and six years, but it can also depend on the type of accident and injury that occurred. While North Dakota has a statute of limitations of six years for personal injuries in a car accident, the wrongful death timeframe is just two years.

Also, the general time in Texas for personal injury claims is two years. Property damage and wrongful death have the same timeframes to make a claim.

Can You Extend This Time?

There are certain cases where you can extend this timeframe. For example, if you can prove that the injury was definitely from the car accident, a court may allow you to file a claim. It could be an unexpected development from an injury you gained during the crash, which has now led to extra expenses you reasonably wouldn't have considered.

The problem is that courts will find it difficult to believe that the injury came from the car accident if it is decades down the line. You'll need to have a doctor's diagnosis.

Is the Statute of Limitations from the Date of the Accident?

The statute of limitations doesn't necessarily start from the date of the accident. It starts from when the injury was "reasonably discovered." For example, if the accident left you unable to act on your own for the time period, such as due to a coma, you would have only reasonably discovered the injuries after the time the timeframe ran out. You can't be penalized for something like this out of your control.

Is There a Different Time for Minors?

Some states will also set different timeframes for minors. For example, in Alabama, the time begins on the minor's 19th birthday and lasts no longer than three years. In Wyoming, a minor will have three years from his/her 18th birthday.

Make sure you are aware of the statute of limitations in your state. Do not allow time to run out if you plan on seeking compensation for your injuries and/or damages to your vehicle. For more information or assistance, contact a local accident attorney, like one from Kaston & Aberle.