How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim Injury?

by Paula A. Wyatt | June 7, 2023 | Blog, Car Accident | 0 comments

How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim Injury?

All it takes is one wrong decision to take a life or cause a catastrophic injury. Yet, American drivers don't seem to learn.

After a car accident, nothing is more crucial than the rights of injured parties and their family members. The devastation that injury victims face is often unscalable. Still, attorneys can ensure they receive the compensation they deserve.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury in a recent crash, please don't hesitate to contact a qualified car accident attorney. The legal help you need is only a phone call away. But don’t delay. The state statute of limitations sets a deadline for filing a lawsuit, you will need a car accident lawyer to collect before road crews clean it up or traffic cameras overwrite video of the incident. You really have no time to lose to claim an injury after a car accident

How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim Injury?

Car Accident Lawyer in San Antonio, Texas area

Unfortunately, this is a complex question with many answers. First, you must report your injuries to the applicable insurance companies as soon as possible. If your case doesn't settle out of court, you may need to file a lawsuit to seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries. 

Every state has a statute of limitations or deadline for filing a lawsuit. Typically, this deadline is around two years after the date of the injury, though in your case the law may give you more or less time. If you fail to file a claim within that strict deadline, you will probably not receive compensation for your injuries. 

You can still file a claim, but the other party's lawyer will know you filed after the deadline. Therefore, they will ask the court to refuse your case, and the court must side with them under the law. This is one reason why hiring a car accident attorney as soon as possible after suffering injuries in a motor vehicle accident is crucial. 

You can claim an injury whenever you want after a car accident; however, your chances of receiving compensation for that injury diminish as more time passes. 

Types of Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries

When most people think of car accidents, they think of shattered glass, crumpled metal, and debris on the road. After all, those things are what the aftermath of a car accident looks like to those who weren't involved. However, car accidents commonly cause other damages to those involved, and some aren't immediately apparent.

Car crashes involve immense force applied rapidly – as two or more vehicles collide with one another. The amount and direction of force can damage the human body by twisting and bending it in ways it should not bend. Typical car accident injuries include:

Broken Bones/Fractures

Car accidents can also put stress on bones. If the force is too great, it can cause bones to break. Bones can also become crushed between your body and other objects, such as a car door or steering wheel. Broken bones are rarely life-threatening, but some require surgery or months of recovery and healing. 


Whether a car accident is minor or severe, you can often expect some bruising. Seat belts can cause extensive and painful bruises on the chest; airbags can cause bruises to the forearms or chest. Some injured individuals wind up with bruises that they aren't even sure how they got. Some bruises can be deep and even damage tissue below the skin.

Head Injuries

The head is highly vulnerable to injury in a car accident. You can hit your head on parts of the car, the ground, or flying debris in the accident can also hit you. You might have a concussion or a milder type of brain injury. Difficulties with memory and confusion are sometimes transient symptoms. 

Car accident victims are also at risk for traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). While the brain is encased in the skull and protected by fluid, the forces associated with a car accident can still cause significant damage. Bleeding, swelling, and bruising on the brain can all result in life-altering or life-threatening injuries. 


Pain or discomfort in the neck, shoulders, upper back, or head after a motor vehicle collision can mean whiplash. In a car accident, your neck can move forcefully and rapidly in unusual ways. This can cause soft tissue injuries like strains to the muscles and other connective tissues in the neck, resulting in a condition known as whiplash. 

Neck/Back Injuries

Like whiplash, you can sustain other neck and back injuries from the forces acting on your body during a car accident. The discs in your spine can herniate or rupture, causing pain and immobility. You may require surgery or physical therapy to recover. 

Internal Bleeding and Injuries

Internal organs are delicate, and sometimes bones such as the ribs or pelvis aren't strong enough to protect them against the brutal forces in an accident. Internal bleeding can be life-threatening and sometimes doesn't have symptoms. This highlights the importance of seeking medical attention after any car accident. 

No matter your injuries, you deserve compensation for related damages, such as medical expenses and pain and suffering. When you hire a skilled car accident lawyer, they will do everything possible to get you the compensation you deserve. 

What Causes Motor Vehicle Crashes?

Dozens of factors and actions can lead to a motor vehicle crash. Sometimes several contribute to one accident. Determining how an accident occurred is crucial in identifying who is to blame for your injuries and seeking monetary recovery. When you hire our skilled car accident lawyers to represent your claim, we begin with a thorough investigation into the accident. Often, we find that the following factors or situations contributed to the car accident.

Distracted Driving 

Driving requires the full attention of the person behind the wheel. An accident can occur in an instant if a driver becomes distracted. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that the number of fatalities in crashes involving at least one distracted driver was 3,522, or 8.2 percent of total fatalities in a recent year. This represents a 12 percent increase from 3,154 in the previous year.

While texting, talking, and otherwise using smartphones are typically the biggest distraction drivers face, other activities can distract them, including:

  • Eating or drinking
  • Personal hygiene or grooming
  • Daydreaming
  • Pets or passengers in the vehicle
  • GPS
  • Infotainment systems

Drowsy or Fatigued Driving

Believe it or not, recent studies have found that drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Even a mild, short-term lack of sleep can have hazardous consequences on the road. 

For example, after about 18 hours of wakefulness, the effects on vigilance, reaction time, multitasking, and hand-eye coordination are similar to having a blood alcohol content of 0.05 percent. At 20 hours of wakefulness, drowsy drivers have impairment similar to a BAC of 0.08 percent the current legal BAC in most states. Drowsy driving is typical among shift workers, people with sleep disorders, and semi-truck drivers.

Intoxicated Driving

Despite its traumatic effects, the legal consequences, and public awareness campaigns, intoxicated driving remains a problem in the U.S. It's not just alcohol that can impair drivers. Medications, including over-the-counter, prescription, and illicit drugs, can also impair a driver beyond safely operating a motor vehicle. Unfortunately, drivers also sometimes forget that just because marijuana is legal in some areas, it can still impede driving abilities.

Failure to Obey Traffic Laws

All drivers must know the traffic laws and obey traffic laws. This includes stopping at stop signs or red lights, driving the speed limit, stopping at occupied or signaled crosswalks, and many other actions. Yet, drivers always ignore the laws, leading to severe injuries and deaths. 

Vehicle Defects

Some car wrecks aren't the fault of other drivers but rather the responsibility of the vehicle's manufacturer or a parts manufacturer. Like any product manufacturer, auto manufacturers must design and create safe products. If they don't, others' lives are at risk.

Some common vehicle or parts defects include:

  • Ignition
  • Airbags
  • Brakes
  • Fuel system
  • Tires

If a driver learns about a safety recall on their video or is aware of potential safety issues with the vehicle, they must fix the vehicle as soon as possible. However, a recall does not automatically let a manufacturer off the hook when it comes to car accident liability due to a defect.

Poor Road Maintenance or Design

Government municipalities and anyone else who owns a road and is maintaining it have a duty to those allowed to be on that road. They must design it safely and take reasonable steps to maintain it. Suppose a road is poorly designed or maintained. In that case, it can cause an accident, leaving the municipality in charge of the road liable for any damages that result.

What Is Negligence?

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), nearly 45,000 motor vehicle accident fatalities were in 2021 alone. Tens of thousands of others suffered severe and catastrophic injuries. Sadly, many of these crashes were preventable and resulted from negligence by another party.

In general, negligence is the failure of a person or a party to behave reasonably.

To establish negligence in your car accident claim, your car accident attorney will need to show that:

  • One party owes the other a duty of care
  • The one party fails to uphold a duty of care as a reasonable person should
  • The non-adherence to the duty of care caused your motor vehicle accident
  • You sustained compensable damages in the accident they caused

In essence, your car accident lawyer must show you suffered compensable damages for which you seek payment from the liable party.

Your damages might include current and future:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium

What to Do After a Car Accident?

Being in a car accident is usually shocking. Knowing what to do after one doesn't isn't always clear, especially when you didn't see it coming and are suffering from injuries.

Taking the proper steps at this point can make the difference between a successful personal injury claim and one that never amounts to anything:

  • Get medical attention - If you suffer an injury, get medical attention immediately. For injuries that are extremely painful or limb- or life-threatening, go to the emergency room right away. You need an evaluation by a doctor as soon as possible. 
  • Follow medical advice - Do what your doctor says and follow their treatment plan. Take any medications as prescribed and go to your follow-up appointments. If they ask you to avoid certain activities or exercises, adhere to their advice. Doing all this will help establish that you've suffered an injury and are pursuing treatment.
  • Don't talk to the insurance company - It's okay to report the accident to your insurance company or the at-fault party's insurance company. However, do not talk to the insurance adjuster for the at-fault driver's insurance company. You can instruct them to reach out to your car accident lawyer instead. If you speak to them, you risk saying something they can twist to harm your claim.
  • Contact an experienced car accident attorney - Contact car accident lawyers as soon as possible after your accident. The sooner you can secure legal representation, the better chances your case will have of being successful. Your attorney can help ensure that you don't harm your claim. They can also handle the logistics of your case so that you can rest and heal from your injuries. 
  • Keep a journal - Document your injuries and healing. Be sure to detail your pain levels and what your pain or disabilities keep you from doing. Your car accident attorneys can use it to help your claim. 
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Paula A. Wyatt Car Accident Injury Attorney in San Antonio

Did You Suffer Harm in a Motor Vehicle Crash? Call a Car Accident Attorney Today

Suppose you or a family member has suffered an injury in a motor vehicle crash. In that case, one of the best steps is to contact a seasoned personal injury attorney in San Antonio as soon as possible. Representation from legal counsel can protect your rights and give your claim the best chance of garnering the compensation it deserves.

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