Filing a Claim After a Traffic Accident: Is There a Time Limit?

Being in a vehicle accident generally causes significant issues for everyone involved. However, if you were injured or your vehicle was damaged and the at-fault driver or an insurance company refused to pay for the damages, it may be necessary to take legal action. Accident victims always want to know whether there is a time limit for filing a claim.

How Long Does a Driver Have to File an Initial Accident Report?

Since not every state has the same requirements, it’s important Indiana drivers understand their responsibilities following an accident. While many states allow drivers to wait for several days before reporting an accident, Indiana requires drivers to immediately phone local law enforcement personnel and provide required accident-related information.

Failing to do so can result in significant penalties and may create issues when trying to collect damages from the other driver or that driver’s insurance carrier. Rather than make a bad situation worse, it simply makes sense to make that call immediately after an accident occurs.

What Options Do Drivers Have When Filing Claims?

Under Indiana laws, drivers involved in accidents have three options available to recover damages after an accident. First, they can contact their own insurance carrier. The second option is to file a claim with the other driver’s insurer. The third option is to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

However, it’s also important to remember that Indiana is a comparative fault state, which means drivers can be found partially at-fault for an accident. Any award would be reduced by the percentage the driver is found to be at fault.

Discuss Your Options With an Attorney Before Making Any Decisions

Because collecting damages after you’re in a car wreck can be complicated, it’s always a good idea to consult an attorney for legal advice before deciding which of the three available strategies to use. The attorney will evaluate the pros and cons of each option and explain why one would be better to pursue than the others.

Female hands filling car accident questionnaire

Working With an Attorney Resolves Timeline Limits

As a rule, the attorney will recommend a course of action that will provide the best results. In most cases, approaching one of the insurance carriers will be the first option. That’s normally the easiest and fastest way to recover any type of damages following an accident. However, there will be times when insurance companies fail to provide an adequate settlement offer.

At that point, the attorney will likely recommend filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver and their insurance carrier. Here is where the timeframe is crucial. Indiana requires that lawsuits be filed within two years following an accident. If no action is taken within that timeframe, the accident victim will lose the right to file an action.

If You’re in an Accident, Call for Advice Before Making Statements

While drivers are required to report an accident to the authorities immediately, they are not required to make detailed statements that could damage their case. Rather than making statements that could prove to be problematic later, it pays to contact an attorney for advice before providing detailed information to the authorities or the other driver’s insurer.

When filing any type of accident report, take the time to protect yourself. An area accident attorney will gladly provide the advice you need and deal with insurers to make sure you get the best settlement possible.