Any car accident is troubling, but sometimes it is downright life changing. If you or someone you love suffers injuries in a car accident, your first thoughts always revolve around their health and well-being. Often, treatment involves multiple doctor visits, hospital stays, and surgeries. Your focus is on their recovery, not compensation. While this is understandable, it is important to understand that the time to file a lawsuit after any auto accident is limited. The first step to ensuring you get the compensation you deserve is understanding how long after a car accident can you claim injury.
How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim Injury?
The statute of limitations in South Carolina for a car accident is 3 years. That 3 year time limit starts from the date of the accident.
If you’re filing an insurance claim, the date when you can file may depend on the insurance company. Usually within a few days of the accident, the insurance company should allow you to file an insurance claim to pursue compensation. Keep in mind that the longer you wait to file a claim, the greater the chance it will be denied. If you wait too long to file and the claim is denied, you’ll also have much less time to make an appeal.
While you have 3 years to file, you need to do so ASAP. Don’t risk losing the compensation you’re entitled to just because you can’t find the time to file your claim. This is where getting a car accident attorney can help immensely. An attorney can help ensure your claim is submitted on time. If denied, we can work to get your claim approved so you can focus on healing instead of deadlines.
What Happens If You Don’t File A Claim Within 3 years?
If you don’t file a car accident claim within the 3 year timeframe, your claim will automatically be dismissed. Unfortunately, there are very few exceptions to the 3 year limit.
A car accident attorney from the Clardy Law Firm in Greenville explains that under South Carolina law, victims have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit in civil court. The statute of limitations or time limit in South Carolina is three years from the date of the injury or accident. If a lawsuit is not filed within this extremely strict time limit, the court will refuse to hear the case.
It Matters Where The Accident Occurred, Too
It is also vital to note that the time limit is based on the laws of the state where the accident occurred. South Carolina laws are more generous than many states. If you are a resident of South Carolina, but your automobile accident occurred in Indiana, your time limit for filing a lawsuit is based on Indiana law. Indiana allows only 2 years instead of South Carolina’s 3 years to file a suit.
How An Auto Accident Attorney Can Help
The laws governing the United States are complicated. If you or a loved one is involved in an accident, contacting an attorney allows you to concentrate on what is truly important, your family. An experienced attorney understands the importance of legal deadlines and obtaining fair and just compensation.
In most car accident cases, you’re entitled to compensation for these types of damages:
- Medical bills (present and future)
- Lost wages
- Repairs to your vehicle and other property
- Pain and suffering
You don’t necessarily need an attorney to file your claim in South Carolina. However, if you want to be taken seriously, it definitely helps to have one on your side. When the insurance company sees you’ve decided to hire an attorney, they’ll realize you can’t be taken advantage of. Sadly, yet unsurprising, many insurance companies don’t want to pay out. When they do, they’ll often try to low-ball your settlement amount. Most people don’t realize this and will often take the low offer without realizing that it’s not enough to cover the cost of their damages. An auto accident attorney will know immediately whether or not the insurance company is offering a fair amount.
The truth is that most insurance companies don’t want to go to court because it’s expensive and time-consuming. With an attorney on your side, the insurance company will be more inclined to settle your case out of court at a higher rate. They do this because they know your attorney knows what your case is really worth.
If you’re in a car accident, don’t wait. Contact an auto accident attorney today to discuss your case and find out how much compensation you’re entitled to. Get help with filing your claim, disputing a low settlement offer from the insurance company, or making an appeal.