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Q
How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim After I Have a Car Accident?

A

Before we answer your question, you should know that filing a claim with an insurance company for your personal injury accident is not the same as filing a lawsuit.  There is no limit on filing a "claim" with the insurance company, but there is a limit on the time in which you must file a Lawsuit.

IT IS NOT ENOUGH TO FILE A CLAIM WITH THE INSURANCE COMPANY. THAT DOES NOT PROTECT YOUR CLAIM.

To prevent your claim from being completely barred, lost, terminated, and destroyed, you have to file a lawsuit before the time limit set by the state where your accident happened. This time limit is set by what we call a "STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS."

How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim?

With that said, the statute of limitations on a personal injury claim varies from state to state and can be anywhere from one to six years. If you are injured in a Virginia, Maryland, or District of Columbia car accident, you will need to know the statute of limitations for filing a claim in the state where the accident occurred:

  • Maryland: 3 years
  • Virginia: 2 years
  • District of Columbia: 3 years

The time begins to run from your accident date for personal injury claims, unless an exception applies. For a list of all states' statutes of limitations, check this chart for each state's laws on limitations (numbers below reflect years since the cause of action accrues, which for injury claims starts as of the accident date):

Statutes of Limitations for the 50 States (and the District of Columbia)

State statute Written Contract Oral contract Personal Injury Claims

Property Damage Claims

Alabama Ala. Code § 6-2-2 et seq. * 6 6 2 6
Alaska Alaska Stat. § 09.10.010 et seq. 3 3 2 6 (real property); 2 (personal property)
Arizona Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 12-541 et seq. 6 3 2 2
Arkansas Ark. Code Ann. § 16-56-101 et seq. 5 3 3 3
California Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 312 et seq. 4 2 2 3
Colorado Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-80-102 et seq. 6 6 2 2
Connecticut Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 52-575 et seq. 6 3 2 2
Delaware Del. Code Ann. tit. 10, § 8101 et seq. 3 3 2 2
District of Columbia D.C. Code § 12-301 et seq. 3 3 3 3
Florida Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.011 et seq. 5 4 4 4
Georgia Ga. Code Ann. § 9-3-20 et seq. 6 4 2 4
Hawaii Haw. Rev. Stat. § 657-1 et seq. 6 6 2 2
Idaho Idaho Code § 5-201 et seq. 5 4 2 3
Illinois 735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-201 et seq. 10 5 2 5
Indiana Ind. Code Ann. § 34-11-2-1 et seq. 10 6 2 6 (real property); 2 (personal property)
Iowa Iowa Code Ann. § 614.1 et seq. 10 5 2 5
Kansas Kan. Stat. Ann. § 60-501 et seq. 5 3 2 2
Kentucky Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 413.080 et seq. 15 5 1 5 (real property); 2 (personal property)
Louisiana La. civil code § 3492 et seq. 10 10 1 1
Maine Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 14, § 751 et seq. 6 6 6 6
Maryland Md. Courts & Jud. Proc. Code Ann. § 5-101 et seq. 3 3 3 3
Massachusetts Mass. Ann. Laws ch. 260, § 1 et seq. 6 6 3 3
Michigan Mich. Comp. Laws § 600.5801 et seq. 6 6 3 3
Minnesota Minn. Stat. Ann. § 541.01 et seq. 6 6 2 6
Mississippi Miss. Code. Ann. § 15-1-1 et seq. 6 3 3 3
Missouri Mo. Rev. Stat. § 516.097 et seq. 5 5 5 5
Montana Mont. Code Ann. § 27-2-2021 et seq. 8 5 3 2
Nebraska Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-201 et seq. 5 4 4 4
Nevada Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 11.010 et seq. 6 4 2 3
New Hampshire N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 508:1 et seq. 3 3 3 3
New Jersey N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2a:14-1 et seq. 6 6 2 6
New Mexico N.M. Stat. Ann. § 37-1-1 et seq. 6 4 3 4
New York N.Y. Civ. Prac. Laws & Rules § 201 et seq. 6 6 3 3
North Carolina N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-46 et seq. 3 3 3 3
North Dakota N.D. Cent. Code § 28-01-01 et seq. 6 6 6 6
Ohio Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2305.03 et seq. 8 6 2 4
Oklahoma Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 12, § 91 et seq. 5 3 2 2
Oregon Or. Rev. Stat. § 12.010 et seq. 6 6 2 6
Pennsylvania 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5501 et seq. 4 4 2 2
Rhode Island R. I. Gen. Laws § 9-1-12 et seq. 10 10 3 10
South Carolina S.C. Code Ann. § 15-3-510 et seq. 3 3 3 3
South Dakota S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 15-2-1 et seq. 6 6 3 6
Tennessee Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-3-101 et seq. 6 6 1 3
Texas Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.001 et seq. 4 4 2 2
Utah Utah Code Ann. § 78-12-22 et seq. 6 4 4 3
Vermont Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 12, § 461 et seq. 6 6 3 3
Virginia Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-228 et seq. 5 3 2 5
Washington Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 4.16.005 et seq. 6 3 3 3
West Virginia W. Va. Code § 55-2-1 et seq. 10 5 2 2
Wisconsin Wis. Stat. Ann. § 893.01 et seq. 6 6 3 6
Wyoming Wyo. Stat. § 1-3-102 et seq. 10 8 4 4

Learning More About Exceptions

In most cases, time towards a statute is counted from the date the accident occurs. However, in some cases, such as for children, the time begins to run only upon the child reaching the age of majority (usually 18 years old). Also, more time may be allowed, on a case-by-case basis, if an injury is not immediately apparent or could not be discovered due to extended coma or other disabilities.

Some states have provisions that might extend the statute from the date an injury is or reasonably should have been discovered. There are also some circumstances that can delay a statute going into effect. For instance, if a minor is injured in a Virginia car accident - which has a two-year statute of limitations on filing a claim - the statute may not go into effect until they turn 18.

The Falls Church personal injury attorneys at The Strong Law Firm serve victims of Virginia, DC, and Maryland auto accidents. If you have questions about statute of limitations or other issues related to your personal injury claim, don't wait. Schedule a complimentary and confidential case review by calling 877-344-8189 or filling out the quick online contact form at the bottom of this screen.

Additionally, for more information on how to calculate the time in which your Lawsuit for Personal Injuries should be filed, be sure to order a copy of our FREE Accident Recovery Guide.

Call our office today, to see if we can help you. Our initial consultation is FREE.

 

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Michael Strong
Senior Attorney, Strong Law Firm

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