The Clock is Ticking: How Long Do You Have to Report a Car Accident?

AUTHOR: A.J. Bruning | June 25, 2019
The Clock is Ticking: How Long Do You Have to Report a Car Accident?

Car accidents happen every second of the day, somewhere in the world. There's probably one every ten minutes, in the State of Missouri.

Which means, there are a lot of people whose lives change in an instant, due to a bad driving decision or another driver.

Most of those people will never get what they deserve when they report a car accident on their own.

Don't be like them. Learn how a lawyer can help you get a settlement and what legal boxes you need to check below.

The Statute of Limitations

In any kind of legal case, there's a time limit - called the statute of limitations. It acts as a timer from the time the accident or event happened until you can no longer take the case to court.

It's in place to prevent people from prosecuting decades or even just years-old case, which takes up many resources. The idea is that if the accident truly impacted your life, you'd have filed ASAP.

Now we know that's not always true. There are times where accident injuries don't surface for years. But if that happens, you can file it as a follow-up part of your case, which you filed in the correct time limit.

How to File a Case Within the Statute of Limitations

Let's say that you were hit by another car in February of 2019. You were hospitalized for two weeks, so you didn't file a legal case until March.

There was a police report on the scene when you were hit, so that shows evidence of the case. Two weeks fine in this case, though your insurance may not think so.

Your insurance generally wants you to file a claim with them at the scene of the incident or within 24 hours. If you're unable to do so because of injuries you miss the window, you can appeal the decision or call a lawyer.

The order of operations, once you're safe should be:

  1. File a police report
  2. Call a lawyer
  3. File an insurance claim

What's the Time Limit in Missouri to Report a Car Accident?

In our great state, you have five years from the date of the accident to file a court case. Anyone at the scene of the crime was injured may file for a settlement.

If someone died on the scene or sustained injuries that led to their death, you have three years from the day that person died to file a "wrongful death" case.

As long as you can prove that the injury sustained at the accident led to their death, then you can file a wrongful death claim.

Getting a Lawyers Help

While this seems straightforward on paper, in real life, it's not so much. You have to deal with injuries, finding a rental car, getting repairs, filing your insurance claim and whatever legal consequences there are due to the accident.

A lawyer can help you with some of these details, plus they'll get you a higher settlement claim than you would if you went at it alone.

Don't report a car accident and let things go - you have a right to hold the other party accountable while you put your life back together. We can help.

Get a 100% free evaluation here.

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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