Every year in the United States, 3 million people are injured in car accidents. Whether you’ve been in an accident before or it’s your first one, auto crashes are always traumatic.
Everyone reacts their own particular way to trauma. While one individual might find it hard to focus after a crash, another might experience an adrenalin rush that, for the moment, delays their injuries.
If you’re injured in a car accident, you won’t necessarily know it right away. Sometimes it takes hours, or even a few days, for a car crash victim to begin to feel intense pain or to grasp what they’ve been through.
Do you want to learn how long you have to report your injuries? Here’s a guide outlining what to remember after your accident.
Does Texas Law Require a Car Accident Report?
Whether you have injuries or not, the law in Texas requires drivers to file a Crash Report after an accident that results in injury, death, or more than $1,000 worth of property damage.
If a police officer investigates and writes a report at the scene of the accident, then you don’t need to file Form CR-2.
How Long Do You Have to Report an Accident?
If no officers are at the crash, it’s the driver’s responsibility to file a report within 10 days of the accident.
When Should You Tell Your Insurance Company?
The car accident claim time limit differs from insurance company to insurance company.
It’s also important to remember that making a claim is different than reporting the accident.
In the event of a crash, it’s vital to check with your insurance provider about their requirements.
Many insurance companies require that you report your incident to them within 24 hours. Plus, some insurance companies require that you make that report to the police within 24 hours as well.
While one insurance provider might allow a 30-day period to report an accident, another might require a report within 3 days. Some, on the other hand, ask that you report it “as soon as it is reasonably possible.”
If you’ve been injured or suffered property damage, the last thing you’d want to do is miss out on compensation because of missed deadlines or failing to report your accident.
When Should You Make a Claim?
If you’re wondering how long after an accident can you file a claim, the answer is, it depends.
As we mentioned above, reporting an accident is much different than making a claim. You should call your insurance company to report the accident as soon as you’ve been checked out medically and gathered the necessary information from the scene.
Making a claim comes after reporting an accident. Not every insurance company has its own deadline for making a claim, but individual states do.
In Texas, you have 2 years to report a claim for bodily injury and 2 years to report a claim for property damage.
Talk to your lawyer about when the best time is to file a claim. Every situation is different. Sometimes it takes months to assess an injury and project necessary medical bills in the future.
You can file a claim while you’re still being treated for an injury, but it’s vital to have a professional injury lawyer to make sure you’re building your case sufficiently and claiming what you deserve.
How Long After an Accident Can You Sue?
In Texas, you have 2 years to sue for injuries or damages sustained in a car accident.
Typically what happens is that your lawyer will file a claim first. Your insurance company or the at-fault driver’s insurance company will make an offer to compensate for the damages you and your property endured, plus potential doctor’s visits in the future.
Some of the compensation damages an accident might result in are:
- Hospital stays, medical bills, and additional health care expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of ability to earn in the future
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Wrongful death expenses
Most car accident cases settle outside of court. The insurance company will make an offer of compensation, and you and your lawyer can choose whether or not to accept it.
When Would You Sue in Addition to Making a Claim?
If you make a claim for financial recovery to the insurance company but don’t receive the compensation you believe you deserve, you and your lawyer might decide to sue the at-fault driver.
You cannot directly sue the insurance company. However, if the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance and doesn’t have enough finances or assets to sue personally, you could make an additional claim against your own policy through your uninsured motorists’ benefits.
While you’re legally allowed to sue the at-fault driver personally, you can’t draw blood from a stone. If they don’t have the finances or assets to pay should you win, it’s probably not worth your efforts.
What Information Do You Need to Make a Claim?
Whether you’re in shock or in a daze, the best thing you can do for yourself in the event of an accident is to make sure you’re ok and gather as much information as you can.
Here are crucial things to remember to do at the scene:
- Pull over where you’re safe (if possible)
- Protect the scene and yourself with hazard lights, a flashlight, or whatever you have
- Call the police
- Get a copy of the police report
- If anyone asks if you’re injured, and you can’t tell, say that you aren’t sure
- Document the scene by taking pictures
- Exchange information
- Take down names and numbers of any witnesses
- Seek medical attention
- Call your lawyer
If your injuries are severe and noticeable right away, you should seek medical attention before anything else.
If you’re unsure whether or not you’re injured, or if you feel pain, but it’s not severe, you must still seek medical attention.
Even minor impact accidents can cause serious or permanent injuries, like spinal cord injury.
Call a Lawyer If You’re Injured in a Car Accident
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, don’t hesitate to call a lawyer. A FREE case evaluation won’t cost you a penny.
Plus, if you weren’t at fault and sustained injuries or property damage, most professional lawyers will work on contingency, meaning they only get paid if they get you the compensation you deserve.
Have you been in an accident and are unsure of what you should do next? Contact us at any time! We are here to help and offer a FREE Case Evaluation for any accident.