According to, “20-50 million are injured or disabled” each year.  Obviously the effects of these car accidents vary from no discernable injury to permanent disabilities which can affect both drivers and passengers alike, but car accidents can also lead to damage of property and loss of life, which often create legal battles and cases that draw out the claim process for months, even possibly years.  In many of those cases the legal battle will be won by an injured party, but even then receiving adequate compensation is not guaranteed.  In many others, the defense tries to evade paying damages and compensation by bringing into play the time frame between the periods of the car accident and when the injury was claimed by the victim. It should be noted that if this time frame is long, there is high possibility that the defense would end up not paying damages even though he is responsible for the accident.  Hence, a popular question we come across is this, “How long after car accident an injury can be claimed by an individual?”

So how long do I have to file a claim after a car, truck or motorcycle accident?

The short answer is that when one suffers injury from a car accident, it is advisable for such person to file claim as early as possible.  As a general rule, within 72 hours (3 days) is a good marker.  Even if such person does not feel hurt from the accident, it is advised that he should at least go for a medical checkup to a registered clinic that will have the record on file.  Going for medical checkup within a short time frame after a car accident is very advantageous when filing an injury claim later as there is a legal record of a professionally licensed checkup which will become a critical point for all future checkups and documents submitted during trial.  In fact, some insurance companies can decide not to pay medical expenses if the victim does not visit the hospital on time after the car accident!  And, to be fair, this makes sense as if one claims injury as a result of a car or motorcycle or truck accident, this claim should be substantiated by a professional third party licensed physician.  That is, having a successful injury claim warrants evidence to serve as backup for the claim. If there is no evidence of one visiting the doctor, the injury claim might be unsuccessful even though the person was legitimately hurt in the car accident.

State guideliness for filing a claim

Keep in mind, as well, that different states have a limitation on time for which an injury claim can be filed. This is to ensure that one does not come to demand remedy for an injury that occurred for a very long period of time in the past. The limitation on time varies state by state, but for example, some states impose a 1 year limit and others less than that.

What type of bills will insurance help with?

Filing a claim for injury involves the settlement of medical bills for injuries sustained in car accident. The settlement would be for medical bills such as:

  1. Ambulance bills
  2. Hospital bills
  3. Doctors visits
  4. MRI
  5. X-RAYS
  6. ER visits etc

What about emotional suffering?

Filing a claim for injury could also include reimbursement for the time lost from work, suffering and pain, and specialty medical bills. Suffering and pain comprise of both physical and emotional harm to the individual and this should not be understated as often individuals suffer emotionally after being involved in a car accident.  For example, one could develop a phobia to get into a car ever again.  Or it could make one unable to be involved in various activities, which completely changes the course of a person’s life. The implications of these emotional injuries may be the most costly of all, as it can completely destroy an individual’s ability to work and provide for his or her family just as much as physical disabilities can.


When one is involved in car accident, even though he does not feel any form of pain at that moment, it is advised that he visits the hospital within 72 hours.  Keep in mind that the individual might have sustained some sort of internal injury that could not present itself until well into the future so this initial medical record is an important first step. Furthermore, when one realizes that he is hurt, he or she should not waste time to file an injury claim.  According to law, delay defeats equity. As each day passes by the chances of receiving adequate compensate goes down. Even if one is still in the hospital, he or she should start the filing process and not wait till he or she is out of the hospital.

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