How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim Injury?

October 24, 2022

Understanding when to file an injury claim after a car accident is crucial. In general, claims need to be made to the insurance carrier as soon as possible. In fact, insurance carriers often have strict reporting lines of a day or two after the incident occurs to report the incident. However, there are times when individuals do not know that they have been injured until a few days or even weeks after the incident. So, how long do you have to report injuries after an accident occurs?

Understanding the Hidden Injuries

Car accident injuries are not uncommon, and they are often known right away. For example, if a person breaks their arm or sustains a laceration at the car accident scene, there is no questioning whether or not an injury occurred. However, there are times when the signs and symptoms of some car accident injuries do not show up right away. In some cases, it could take hours or even days before a person knows they have sustained an injury in a car accident.

Some of the most common car accident injuries that do experience delayed signs or symptoms include:

  • Whiplash
  • Concussions
  • Back or spinal cord injuries
  • Sprains, strains, or other soft tissue injury
  • Internal bleeding or internal organ damage

Car accident injury victims need to report any injury they sustain as soon as they know about it. If they sustain an injury that they know about at the scene of the crash, this should be recorded in the police report, and the individuals should seek medical care immediately.

If a person begins to experience signs and symptoms of an injury anytime after the vehicle accident occurs, they need to seek medical care as soon as possible so they can be evaluated by a doctor.

Reporting to the Insurance Carrier

The first priority after realizing there has been a delayed injury after a car accident is receiving medical care. After a person has received care and is stable, they need to take steps to report the injury to their insurance carrier. By this point, the insurance carrier will likely already be working on the initial claim, and they certainly will not be happy about reports of another injury or injuries.

Insurance carriers are looking for ways to limit how much money they pay in a settlement, and any delay in reporting an injury gives them a reason to scrutinize the claim more closely. It is likely that the insurance carrier will look for other ways the injury could have occurred after the accident in order to keep them from having to pay compensation. However, if you tell your doctor that you believe the injury occurred as a result of the vehicle accident, and the doctor can back up the mechanism of injury, it is likely that you will be able to recover compensation even for delayed injuries.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Car accident injury victims may need to file a civil personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party to recover compensation, particularly if the insurance carrier denies the claim or refuses to pay for the delayed injuries. There is a two-year personal injury statute of limitations in West Virginia, and individuals must file their claim within this time frame. Failing to do so will result in the injury victim becoming unable to recover compensation for their losses. To help maximize the value of your case, consider contacting an experienced Martinsburg auto accident lawyer today.


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