Accidents happen when least expected. You are likely to be disrupted due to injuries from the accident or property damage. You will have medical bills to be paid. To mitigate the effects of the accident, you need to report the accident to your insurance company or insurance company.
In circumstances where the accident is minor, you might not think there is a need to file a report, as there might not be physical injuries or pain. However, when an accident occurs, the body often goes into shock to protect against the event’s impact. So how long do you have to report an injury accident? As we will discuss, it depends on several factors net worth.
How Long Do I Have to File an Accident Claim?
Insurances companies usually prefer that you file an accident claim promptly. However, you may need more time to file a claim as some injuries may not be apparent immediately after the accident.
If you want your medical insurance to cover any necessary treatment for injuries, you should see a doctor within 72 hours of the accident for an initial exam. Even if you do not think you sustained any serious injuries, you should check in with your primary care physician within a few days of the initial accident.
If you wait much longer than this, insurance companies often get suspicious of your intentions. As a result, they will conduct intensive investigations to authenticate whether the injuries occurred due to the accident or not. Ordinarily, if the insurance company finds any reasonable ground to deny your claim, they will happily turn you down.
If you were involved in an auto accident, the amount of time you have to report the accident and start the claims process varies. Some states have specific laws about this, and many car insurance companies also include clauses requiring you to file a claim promptly. Therefore, it’s also a good idea to call your local insurance agent within 72 hours of the accident.
Filing With Police
Suppose you are involved in a car accident or another situation requiring police intervention. In that case, you should contact your local law enforcement agency to file a report as soon as possible. In the case of an auto accident, most police precincts ask that you file a report within 24 hours of the accident. You can wait as long as 20 days to file your report in other situations, but it isn’t generally recommended.
This should apply whether you intend to file a claim with the insurance or not. The police report provides solid evidence, all recorded by an unbiased third party. A police report is an incident report made by a police officer responding to an accident scene. Police officers primarily create their accident report at the scene and collect every detail they can from the crash site, witness statements, and testimonies from anyone directly involved in the crash.
Remember that reporting the accident to the police differs from filing a claim with the insurance. You will still need to contact your insurance provider separately to relay information and file a claim.
When you file a claim with an insurance company reporting the event, your insurer will ask for a police report. This is especially important in instances where the vehicle was damaged. The police report will assist the insurance company in collecting crucial information about the accident. In states with fault-based accident laws, the person found responsible for the accident will pay for damages through their insurance, the insurer will not accept a claim about one of its policyholders unless you provide them with solid evidence, including a police report.
Statute of Limitations by State
The statute of limitations sets a time within which victims may institute legal proceedings from the date of the offense. This law protects potential defendants from unfair legal proceedings because witnesses will have forgotten some of the event’s details after a certain period, and crucial evidence might not be available.
The federal law has a general statute of limitations of five years unless the SOL is extended in specific cases. However, individual states have different statutes of limitations for civil lawsuits. Depending on your state, you have between 2 and 10 years to file your claim.
What Happens if My Insurance Company Denies My Claim?
If you are involved in an accident, you will have medical bills to pay, damaged property to repair, and in some instances, temporary or permanent loss of income due to the injuries incurred. In such circumstances, getting compensation from an insurance company should be straightforward, right? Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Insurance companies are not very keen on assisting you in getting the money. Instead, they would go to any extent to ignore or limit your payout. In some instances, insurance companies will outrightly deny your claim even when it’s legitimate and straightforward.
Whenever you submit your claim, insurance companies will carefully scrutinize the insurance policy taken out by the person at fault. Insurance companies have the right to deny a claim if there is an issue with that policy.
Insurance companies will not hesitate to deny your claim if they suspect you are unfamiliar with your legal right and are not represented by an attorney. Alternatively, they may delay processing your claim.
All these strategies are aimed at frustrating you and pilling pressure so that you either give up and stop pursuing the claim or get desperate and accept any offer they extend to you. Remember they are not very enthusiastic about paying claims as it affects their profits. To avoid such scenarios, you can enlist the help of a law firm to handle your claim, especially when you know there was no valid reason for denial.
In addition, just because the insurance company has denied your claim does not mean it is the end of the road. You can challenge the decision by filing an appeal. There is also the option of going to the Department of Insurance in your state to challenge the insurance’s decision.
Don’t Wait to Report Accidents
By now you know that dealing with insurance companies when making a claim is not a walk in the park. In most circumstances, insurance companies are not very enthusiastic about honoring claims, especially where and when there are loopholes allowing them to deny claims.
Suppose you wish to avoid ugly and painful scenarios where your insurance company denies your accident injury claim. In that case, it is essential to file a claim with the insurance and obtain a police report with the stipulated timelines depending on the state you are in when the accident occurs. In addition, it is critical to get the help of a car accident attorney to help you through the process.