Car Accident Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for car accident cases in the United States varies by state and ranges from 1 to 6 years. The table below details the statute of limitations for auto accident claims by state.

State Statute of Limitations (Years)
Alabama 2
Alaska 2
Arizona 2
Arkansas 3
California 2
Colorado 3
Connecticut 2
Delaware 2
Florida 4
Georgia 2
Hawaii 2
Idaho 2
Illinois 2
Indiana 2
Iowa 2
Kansas 2
Kentucky 2
Louisiana 1
Maine 6
Maryland 3
Massachusetts 3
Michigan 3
Minnesota 6
Mississippi 3
Missouri 5
Montana 3
Nebraska 4
Nevada 2
New Hampshire 3
New Jersey 2
New Mexico 3
New York 3
North Carolina 3
North Dakota 6
Ohio 2
Oklahoma 2
Oregon 2
Pennsylvania 2
Rhode Island 3
South Carolina 3
South Dakota 3
Tennessee 1
Texas 2
Utah 4
Vermont 3
Virginia 2
Washington 3
West Virginia 2
Wisconsin 3
Wyoming 4

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Additional Legal Considerations

When dealing with the statute of limitations for car accident claims, there are several key legal considerations individuals should keep in mind:

1. Date of Accident vs. Date of Discovery: The statute of limitations typically begins on the date of the accident. However, in some cases, especially where injuries or damages are not immediately apparent, the clock may start ticking from the date the injuries were discovered or reasonably should have been discovered. This is known as the “discovery rule.”

🛈 Example: If the accident occurred on January 1, 2022, and the injury was discovered on July 1, 2022, the statute of limitations might begin on July 1, 2022.

2. State-Specific Laws: Each state has its own statute of limitations for car accident claims, ranging from 1 to 6 years. It’s crucial to know the specific time frame in the state where the accident occurred.

🛈 Example: A victim in California must file a claim by January 1, 2024, for an accident that occurred on January 1, 2022, whereas a victim in Maine has until January 1, 2028, to file for the same accident date.

3. Claims Involving Government Entities: If the car accident involves a government vehicle or employee, the time frame for filing a claim may be significantly shorter, often requiring a notice of claim to be filed within a few months of the accident.

🛈 Example: If the accident occurred on January 1, 2022, the victim must file a notice of claim by July 1, 2022.

4. Minors and Incapacitated Individuals: Special rules often apply to minors or individuals who are mentally incapacitated at the time of the accident. In many states, the statute of limitations may be tolled (paused) until the minor reaches the age of majority or the incapacitated individual regains capacity.

🛈 Example: If a child is injured in a car accident on January 1, 2022, and turns 10 on July 1, 2022, they have until July 1, 2031 (their 21st birthday) to file a claim in states such as Missouri.

5. Insurance Company Deadlines: In addition to the legal statute of limitations, insurance companies may have their own deadlines for reporting accidents and filing claims. It’s important to adhere to these deadlines to avoid denial of coverage.

🛈 Example: A victim must notify their insurance company by January 31, 2022, for an accident on January 1, 2022, even if the state allows more time for legal action.

6. Cross-State Accidents: If the accident occurs in a different state from where the claimant resides, or if parties involved are from different states, the applicable statute of limitations may be affected by jurisdictional issues.

🛈 Example: The victim may need to file the claim within two years to comply with Nevada law, despite Oregon’s longer statute.

7. Preserving Evidence: Promptly filing a claim helps in preserving evidence and ensuring that witness memories are fresh. Delaying too long can result in loss of critical evidence that could impact the outcome of the case.

🛈 Example: If the victim waits too long to gather evidence, critical footage from the January 1, 2022, accident could be overwritten by January 31, 2022.

8. Consulting with an Auto Accident Attorney: Given the complexities of the statute of limitations and other legal considerations, consulting with a personal injury attorney promptly after an accident can provide guidance on the appropriate steps to take and ensure that claims are filed within the required time frame.

🛈 Example: Early consultation, such as meeting with an attorney on January 10, 2022, ensures timely action and compliance with all legal and procedural requirements.

By considering these additional legal factors, individuals can better understand the complexities of car accident claims and take appropriate steps to protect their rights and interests. It’s important to note that the above are just examples, and the various factors that apply to your case will likely vary. For legal questions regarding your potential auto accident case, it’s important to consult a personal injury attorney by requesting a free case evaluation.

Get Help From An Experienced Car Accident Attorney

It’s important to note that each auto accident case is unique, and the deadline to file your claim and various other factors that apply to the statute of limitations may vary based on the specific circumstances of your case. Consulting with an auto accident can help ensure that your build a strong claim and recover fair compensation for your claim.

Getting started with your injury claim is easy. Just request a free case evaluation online, and a legal team in our network will reach out to you regarding your case. Our network of attorneys includes a team of over 250+ legal professionals throughout the United States with over $1 billion recovered for clients, including individuals who have suffered injuries as a result of an auto accident.

⚖️ All of our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning there are no upfront legal fees or costs — you only pay if you win.

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We use settlement calculators to help individuals estimate how much compensation they may receive from their personal injury claim. We partner with law firms throughout the United States to help produce the most accurate results. Our content and calculators are created with the help of top-rated attorneys and legal professionals.

Accident type Avg. Settlement
Drunk driver $262,479
Uninsured driver $128,129
Hit-and-run $87,233
Rear-end $181,309
Injury type Avg. Settlement
Back & neck $263,030
Herniated disc $220,066
Concussion $347,046
Whiplash $121,542
PTSD $762,436

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⚖️ All of our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning there are no upfront legal fees or costs — you only pay if you win.