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

Pay attention to the statute of limitations in your state.

Was a police report filed?
  • 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 its own version of this law. In some states, the lawsuit-filing window is as small as one year, while in the most generous of states (Maine and North Dakota), it's 6 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 your car accident injuries, subjective effects like pain and suffering, and other losses stemming from the crash. 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 lawsuit after a car accident, you also need to keep these same deadlines in mind when it comes to filing a claim with a car insurance company after an 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. Where there's a specific deadline for car accident cases (as opposed to standard personal injury cases) in certain states (like Colorado), that deadline is noted in the chart.

    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 3 years Colo. Rev. Stat. Sec. 13-80-101
    Connecticut 2 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 2 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 2 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

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