How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim Injury?

AUTHOR: A.J. Bruning | February 1, 2021
How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim Injury?

You're driving along the highway, like any other day, when the unthinkable happens: you get into a car accident. The damage that can be done from these kinds of accidents can be immense, scary, and potentially dangerous to your future.

Despite what we may think, these types of accidents happen all the time.

Sometimes, injuries that result from these types of accidents don't make themselves apparent right away. You might not realize that you've been injured as a result of the accident for some time. Is it too late, at this point, to take legal action?

How long after a car accident can you claim injury? Read on and we'll walk you through everything that you need to know.

How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim Injury?

A person can't bring a lawsuit forward anytime they want to. The more time that passes between an incident and a lawsuit, the more complications arise in determining the truth of what did and didn't occur. For this reason, most states have what are known as statutes of limitations in place.

These are laws that outline the time period in which an individual might bring forward a case against another individual. These statutes vary both depending on the type of dispute and the state in which the lawsuit is being brought forward.

Statutes of limitations are set at the state level, meaning they are not consistent from state to state. One state might provide a large window of time for a case to be brought forward while another may allow very little.

Understanding Car Accident Lawsuit Limitations

How do these laws relate to car accidents? Even within the general umbrella of car accidents, there are different laws depending on the type of lawsuit being brought forward.

Generally speaking, a state will allow more time for a case seeking property damage compensation to be brought forward than they would for one seeking personal injury compensation.

This is because it can be more difficult to prove that injuries were caused by an accident after a long period of time has gone by.

State by State Laws

As we mentioned, the statute of limitations for car accidents varies by state.

Missouri and Illinois present very different time frames to those looking to bring a case forward. Missouri allows a much bigger window, allowing a person up to five years from the date of an accident to file their claim. This is close to the highest allowances in the country, such as in Maine or New Jersey where the limit is six years.

In contrast, Illinois only allows two years for an individual to bring the same kind of claim forward. This is closer to the opposite end of the spectrum: states like Tennessee or Kentucky that only allow one year to pass before a case can't be brought forward.

Car Accident Lawsuit Timelines

A car accident can be a life-altering event. If you're hoping to bring a case forward and claim the compensation you deserve, you'll need to be familiar with the statute of limitations in your area.

How long after a car accident can you claim injury? The above information can help you determine just how much time you really have.

Need immediate help with your case? Contact us anytime for a free consultation.

A.J. Bruning


I was born and raised to represent individuals who have been needlessly injured. I mean that literally. At a young age my father would tell me about the clients he was representing. I would meet them and take pride in their admiration of my father. I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer and represent clients that needed my help.

Author's Bio

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