How Long do I Have to File a Car Accident Claim in California?

If you’ve been injured in a car accident in California, you only have a limited time to file your claim. Find out how long you have to file your car accident claim in California.

Have you been injured in a car accident? If so, you should know you only have a limited amount of time to file a car accident claim in California.

If you don’t act fast, you’ll miss your window of time and be unable to get the settlement you deserve.

Interested in learning more about the car accident claim process? In this article, we’re covering everything you need to know about the claim process, including how and when to file a claim.

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How to File for a Car Accident Claim in California

If you’ve been involved in an auto accident in California, the first thing you should do is exchange insurance information, especially if you’re not at fault for the incident. Even if you are partly to blame, you may be able to recover damages thanks to California’s “comparative negligence/shared fault” law.

You’ll need to notify the California DMV within 10 days of your accident if:

  • Anyone was killed or injured
  • The accident resulted in more than $1,000 in property damage

You should know that reporting your accident to your insurer or the DMV is not the same as suing for damages. You may also have to file a lawsuit if the responsible party or their insurance company refuse to pay up for damages.

How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Claim in California?

You can sue for injuries from a car accident within six months of the accident, according to the California statute of limitations. You have three years to file for property damage. It’s important to note, however, that this time limit applies to lawsuits that are filed after the accident and not after the filing of the actual insurance claim.  If you have been injured in an accident it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible.

If you have a claim, it’s best to tell your insurance company as soon as possible. If you delay, you compromise your chances of recovering damages. If your injuries don’t set in until a few months after, you have one year from the date your injury was discovered to file a claim with the court.

lady justice with gavel and open law book

What if I Don’t Have Insurance?

person signing a car insurance document

If you’re the innocent party in this situation, you can still file a claim with the other party’s insurer.  You should know though that the other party’s insurance is not required to represent you or act on your claim.

That’s why you should reach out to an expert California accident lawyer before you file a claim against the other person’s insurance.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Make My Claim?

Technically, no. But you’re more likely to get a larger settlement with a great lawyer on your side.

The majority of insurance adjusters deal with claims every day and know exactly how to scare you away or into settling for less than you deserve. An experienced lawyer can help you navigate a tricky claim and make sure you’re getting everything you deserve (and more).

injury attorney meeting client in office

Final Thoughts on Filing Car Accident Claims

If you’re a California resident with a car, it’s essential you know how to file a car accident claim in California.

If you don’t, you run the risk of losing out on a much-deserved settlement. But by following the tips in this article, you can quickly file a claim, and navigate the claims process in the most painless way possible.

Have you been injured in an auto accident? Need legal assistance? Contact us for a confidential inquiry!