How Long Do You Have to File a Claim After a Car Accident?

Pay attention to the statute of limitations in your state.

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After a car accident, you've got a limited amount of time to go to court and file a personal injury lawsuit. That amount of time is set by a law called a statute of limitations, and every state has such a law. In some states, the lawsuit-filing window is as small as one year, while in the most generous of states (Oregon), it's 10 years. Most states' time limits fall around two or three years. You'll find the statute of limitations for every state in the chart below.

So, what happens if you wait too long and try to file your lawsuit outside of the time limit set under your state's statute of limitations? The court will almost surely throw out your case as time-barred, and you'll lose any right to compensation for injuries and other losses stemming from the car accident. So, it's important to keep these laws in mind as they pertain to the timeline of your case. 

While these laws set time limits for going to court and filing a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident, you also need to keep these same deadlines in mind when it comes to filing a claim with an insurance company after a car accident. It's a good idea to get the claims process started as soon as possible after the accident, leaving yourself the option of going to court -- and the time to do so under the statute of limitations in your case -- if the claims negotiation process doesn't provide you with a satisfactory solution.

Find your state on the chart below to understand what kind of filing deadline you'll be up against in your case. 

Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Lawsuit After a Car Accident

For more information on car accident laws in your state, click on your state's link.

State Time Limitation Title, Chapter, Article Number
Alabama 2 years Title 6, Ch. 2, 6-2-38
Alaska 2 years Sec. 9.10.070
Arizona 2 years Title 12, Article 3, Sec. 12-542
Arkansas 3 years Secs. 16-56-104, 16-56-105, 16-114-203, 16-62-102
California 2 years Code of Civ. Proc. Sec. 340
Colorado 2 years Colo. Rev. Stat. Sec. 13-80-102
Connecticut 3 years Conn. Gen. State. Sec. 52-584
Delaware 2 years Title 10, Ch. 81, Sec. 8119
DC 3 years Title 12, Ch. 3, Sec. 12-301
Florida 4 years Title 8, Ch. 95, Sec. 95.11
Georgia 2 years Sec. 9-3-33
Hawaii 2 years Rev. Stat. Sec. 657.7
Idaho 2 years Title 5, Ch. 2, Sec. 5-219
Illinois 2 years Ch. 735, Act 5, Art 13, Sec. 13-202
Indiana 2 years Title 34, Art. 11, Ch. 2, Sec. 34-11-2-4
Iowa 2 years Chapter 614, Section 614.1
Kansas 2 years Chapter 60, Art 5, Sec. 60-513
Kentucky 1 year Title 36, Chapter 413, Sec. 413.140
Louisiana 1 year Ci. Code. Art. 3492
Maine 6 years Title 14,Part 2, Ch. 205, Sub. 1, Sec. 752
Maryland 3 years Courts and Judicial Proceedings, Sec. 5-101
Massachusetts 3 years Title 5, Ch. 260, Secs. 2A and 4
Michigan 3 years Chapter 600, Act 236, Ch. 58, Sec. 600.5805, number 9
Minnesota 6 years Ch. 541, Sec 541.05, 541.07
Mississippi 3 years Title 15, Ch. 1, Sec. 15-1-49
Missouri 5 years Title 35, Ch. 516, Sec. 516.120
Montana 3 years Title 27, Ch. 2, 27-2-204 and 27-2-207
Nebraska 4 years Title 25, Section 207, 25-207
Nevada 2 years Chapter 11, Sec 11.190
New Hampshire 3 years Chapter 508, Sec. 508.4
New Jersey 2 years Title 2A, Ch. 14, Sec. 2A:14-2
New Mexico 3 years Ch. 37, Art. 1, Sec. 37-1-8
New York 3 years Civil Practice Laws and Rules, Art. 2, Sec. 214
N. Carolina 3 years Title 1, Section 1-52
N. Dakota 6 years; 2 years in wrongful death Title 28, Ch. 1, Secs. 28-01-16 and 28-01-18
Ohio 2 years Title 23, Ch. 5, Sec. 2305.10
Oklahoma 2 years Title 12, Ch. 3, Sec. 95
Oregon 10 years Ch. 12, Sec. 12.110
Pennsylvania 2 years 42 PA Con. Stat. Section 5524
Rhode Island 3 years Title 9, Ch. 1, Sec. 9-1-14
S. Carolina 3 years Title 15, Ch. 3, Sec. 15-3-530
S. Dakota 3 years Title 15, Ch. 2, Sec. 15-2-14
Tennessee 1 year Title 28, Ch. 3, Sec. 28-3-104
Texas 2 years Civ. Prac. & Rem Code, Title 2, Ch. 16, Sec. 16.003
Utah 4 years Title 78, Ch. 12, Sec. 78-12-25
Vermont 3 years Title 12, Part 2, Ch. 23, Subch. 2, Sec. 512
Virginia 2 years Title 8.01, Ch. 4, Sec. 8.01-243
Washington 3 years Title 4, Ch. 16, Sec. 4.16.080
West Virginia 2 years Title 55, Ch. 2, Sec. 55-2-12
Wisconsin 3 years Chapter 893, Sec. 893.54
Wyoming 4 years Title 1, Ch. 3, Sec. 1-3-105

This page was last updated in 2012

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