Getting into a car accident can be a terrifying experience, especially if it’s your first accident. You may not know what to do or how to file a claim after an accident. Personal injury claims often have many deadlines and requirements. Deciding whether to file an insurance claim or a personal injury claim is a big decision. Car accidents can cause significant personal injuries and result in major financial losses. It takes time to calculate all the losses after a car accident, but many victims are working against a clock to meet all the appropriate time limits. How long after an accident can you file a claim? We can answer this question for you–and more.
Filing an accident claim as soon as possible can prevent a mountain of debt from overwhelming you and your family. Keeping track of the various deadlines can be overwhelming, especially if you’re trying to recover from an injury at the same time. Working with the Michigan personal injury lawyers at Lipton Law can make sure all your bases are covered. Call us today at (248) 557-1688 to schedule a free consultation.
Insurance Claim Deadlines vs. Personal Injury Lawsuit Deadlines
Insurance claim deadlines are often more stringent than legal deadlines. Injured victims only have one year from the date of the accident to file a no-fault insurance claim with the appropriate insurance company. One year may seem like a long time, but it can be difficult to know the extent of your injuries and lost wages until well after the accident.
Insurance companies are notorious for processing claims slowly, or failing to tell you about missed or incorrect paperwork. In addition to insurance company deadlines, you have to meet the appropriate legal deadline when filing a personal injury lawsuit. Working with the experienced team at Lipton Law will ensure all of the required deadlines are met and your right to collect compensation is protected.
Michigan Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Lawsuit
The state of Michigan has a statute of limitations of three years for personal injury lawsuits. This means that injured victims have a deadline of three years to file a claim to recover any compensation for the injuries caused by a Michigan auto accident. The clock starts ticking on the date the accident occurred. Three years may seem like plenty of time to file the necessary paperwork, but this time can go by much quicker than you think. In some cases, there are exceptions to the statute of limitations in Michigan.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
As with every rule, there are exceptions to the Michigan statute of limitations. Child injuries often have a much longer time frame to file a claim for compensation, since children cannot pursue lawsuits for their own injuries. The statute of limitations does not start running for minor victims until their 18th birthday, after which they have one year to file a claim for compensation. This exception may give you and your family more time to heal, but waiting years after an accident has happened to file a personal injury claim can do more harm than good.
The second most notable exception is if the responsible party leaves the state. If the negligent party leaves the state and is gone for more than two months, the statute of limitations is suspended until they return. These exceptions can be complicated, so working with an attorney familiar with Michigan law is essential to your case.
Do I Have to Report Every Accident?
In most cases, you have to report any car accident to your insurance company and/or the police. If the accident causes bodily injury or property damage, you should report it to cover all your bases. Failure to report an accident to your insurance company may be a violation of the policy, which can mean that your policy may be canceled without notice. If another driver hits you and offers to pay cash for the damage, do not accept it. It’s often impossible to tell how bad the damage truly is without a mechanic servicing the vehicle. Accepting cash at the scene of the accident is just a bad idea in general.
Report all accidents to your insurance company, regardless of whether you think the damage is minor or not. Delayed injuries can manifest after even minor fender benders, and failure to report these accidents often means you are on the hook for all medical costs. Not reporting accidents can have more consequences than you think.
What Happens If I Don’t Report A Car Accident?
Reporting any vehicle accident to your insurance and/or police can ensure that you’re following all proper protocols. Many car insurance companies require you to report accidents within three days–some even require notice in as little as 24 hours. You may have a year to file an auto insurance claim for damages, but reporting the accident has a much more immediate time limit.
If you don’t report the accident to your insurance company, they can bar you from recovering compensation from your injuries or even cancel your auto insurance policy. Filing a police report after the accident can ensure that you get accurate information from other drivers involved in the accident as well. Failure to report an accident in Michigan can even come with steep legal penalties.
Fleeing the scene after an accident can result in a felony charge, depending on the extent of the accident. Even if you were not at fault for the accident, leaving the scene of the accident can be a crime. If the at-fault driver fled the scene of a serious motor vehicle accident, they can be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison and pay a fine of up to $10,000.
Even leaving the scene of a minor accident with only vehicle damage can result in a misdemeanor charge and land you with either 90 days in prison, a $100 fine, or both. If the accident resulted in any kind of injury, fleeing the scene is a misdemeanor crime punishable by up to a year in jail, up to a $1,000 fine, and a suspension of your driver’s license. Even if you weren’t at fault for the accident, it’s important to call the police to report it and seek medical attention for your injuries.
Is Michigan a No-Fault State?
Michigan is a no-fault state for car accidents, which means a car accident victim must file all car insurance claims with their own car insurance company, regardless of who caused the accident. While your own insurance company will pay for damages associated with a bodily injury claim and property damage, the at-fault driver can still be held responsible for additional damages. Working with a qualified car accident attorney can ensure that your best interests are pursued and you get all the no-fault benefits you deserve.
Begin the Insurance Claim Process Immediately
Even though you have a year to file your car accident claim, you should almost never wait the entire year before filing. Your auto insurance company may find every reason possible to deny or stall your claim. Starting the process as soon as possible can make sure all evidence is preserved and the details of the accident are still fresh. The sooner you file, the sooner the insurance company will compensate you for damages. Insurance companies have to respond to your claim with a payment, request for additional information, or a denial within 30 days.
If you’re recovering from an extensive injury, the last thing you should focus on is juggling paperwork and deadlines. A car accident attorney from Lipton Law can help you with this process. In some cases, we may even suggest waiting to file the claim until a later date, but still within the one-year deadline for personal injury claims.
Reasons to Delay Filing an Insurance Claim
In some cases, it can benefit you to delay filing an auto insurance claim. For some injuries, you may not know the extent of your losses until after a few doctor’s appointments. Extensive injuries come with extensive medical bills, so delaying the claim until you know the full extent of your injuries can be beneficial. A personal injury lawyer from Lipton Law can advise you on the best route to take.
Can My Insurance Claim Be Denied?
Insurance companies are money-making businesses. If they paid out fair compensation for every single claim, they wouldn’t be making money. Insurance companies will do everything possible to prevent you from getting full compensation for your injuries. Your claim may be denied for any number of reasons. The insurance company may even approve some types of Michigan no-fault insurance benefits but deny others. An experienced car accident attorney from Lipton Law has the experience necessary to make sure you get all the benefits you deserve.
How Soon Should I Contact A Michigan Personal Injury Attorney?
In most cases, it’s in your best interest to contact a Michigan personal injury attorney as soon as possible. At Lipton Law, we can guide you through the process of filing your car insurance claim and getting you the compensation you deserve. From the negotiation table to the courtroom, we have the knowledge and experience to pursue your claim. Call us today at (248) 557-1688 to schedule a free consultation with some of Michigan’s best personal injury lawyers today.