How Long Do I Have To File a Car Accident Claim in California?
David Muñoz | August 31, 2023 | Car Accidents
If you are involved in a car accident, you only have a limited amount of time to file a car accident claim. If you’re injured in a collision in California, knowing how long you have to file a claim can be the difference between pursuing compensation and being barred from doing so.
Hiring an experienced car accident lawyer can help you avoid missing important deadlines in your personal injury case.
How To File a Car Accident Claim in California
If you are involved in a California car accident, you should immediately exchange car insurance information with the other driver. Do not admit fault at the accident scene or when speaking with the insurance company. Ideally, you would consult with an attorney before corresponding with any insurance companies.
If you are also to blame for the accident, you may still be able to recover damages. California is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that you can pursue compensation even if you are partly at fault for the car accident.
California law requires collisions to be reported to the DMV within 10 days if someone was injured, there was a fatality, or if there was more than $1,000 in property damage.
You may also need to initiate a personal injury lawsuit if an insurance company or responsible party refuses to pay for your damages or offers an inadequate settlement agreement.
How Long Do I Have To File My Claim?
In California, you have two years to bring a car accident lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Note that this is distinct from a car accident insurance claim; you should file your insurance claim far sooner than this time limit. If you fail to file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires, you will be barred from recovering compensation.
Although this statute of limitations deadline technically applies to lawsuits, it also relates to car insurance claims. To comply with the statute of limitations for a lawsuit, you need only file it with the appropriate court on time.
However, regarding any insurance claims, these must be resolved completely before the deadline passes. If you are still negotiating with the insurance company as the statute of limitations approaches, you must then file a lawsuit before that point to preserve your legal rights.
To avoid missing important deadlines, you should consult an experienced car accident lawyer immediately following an accident.
What To Do if You Are Involved in an Accident With an Uninsured Driver
When a car accident occurs, it can be an overwhelming experience. If a driver is uninsured, the accident scene and aftermath can become even more complex.
You should do the following after an accident occurs with an uninsured driver:
- Seek medical attention immediately
- Notify law enforcement of the accident
- Exchange contact information with the other driver
- Provide your insurance information
- Take photos and videos of the accident scene, property damage, and visible injuries
- Gather witness statements and contact information
- Take notes regarding the accident scene, the other driver’s vehicle, and road conditions
- Notify your insurance company of the accident, ideally after you’ve spoken with an attorney
When you are insured and involved in a car accident while the other driver is uninsured, you may still be able to recover compensation. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, you can file a claim with your own insurance company. You could also initiate a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party.
Do I Need a Lawyer To Make My Car Accident Claim?
Many personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means that you can initiate your car accident claim without having to pay out-of-pocket expenses to your lawyer immediately. Instead, you will only pay your lawyer’s fees if your case is successful and you receive compensation.
It can be difficult and frustrating to attempt to negotiate with insurance adjusters. Frequently, a low initial settlement offer is made and will not cover your damages. Hiring a qualified lawyer to initiate your car accident claim can increase your chances of getting the compensation you deserve.
Contact the San Diego Car Accident Law Firm of Mission Personal Injury Lawyers Today To Get More Information
Mission Personal Injury Lawyers
2515 Camino del Rio S Suite 350, San Diego, CA 92108
We also serve the state of Texas. Contact our personal injury law office in El Paso for legal assistance today.