Find Your Deadline to File an Auto Accident Lawsuit

November 11, 2021by Margot Lester

If a traffic collision injures you or a family member, then you may elect to file an auto accident lawsuit. Your suit would cover pain and suffering related to the wreck as well as your medical bills and property damage. Therefore, it’s imperative to consult an auto accident attorney if you’re considering filing a suit. This is so they can determine whether or not a case is worth pursuing. It’s also important because you need to know how much time you have to decide what to do.

It’s also crucial to choose an attorney specializing in motor vehicle accidents. That’s because a specialist knows laws vary between jurisdictions and different states. An attorney can also access data on previous settlements that can help make the case for the amount you seek.

And remember, every insurer requires policyholders to report any accident that involves either property damage or personal injury. However, you should consult an attorney before speaking with the insurer about your injuries.

When to File Your Auto Accident Lawsuit

Deadlines vary by state, and there are special situations that also impact your deadline to file an auto accident lawsuit.

For example, if your wreck was caused by a government employee, most states require you to file within 180 days. That means you have less than six months to decide whether to pursue your claim. If a a federal government-owned vehicle was involved, you have no more than two years to file. In some cases, government employees driving on official business are exempt from lawsuits altogether. When it comes to commercial truck accidents and other company-owned vehicles driven by employees, the standard claim-filing deadlines for each state below should apply. Contact an auto accident lawyer immediately so you don’t miss your opportunity.

States With Identical Deadlines for Both Bodily Injury and Property Damage Claims

These states have the same statute of limitations for property damage as well as personal injury lawsuits:

  • Alabama – 2 years
  • Alaska – 2 years
  • Arizona – 2 years
  • Arkansas – 3 years
  • Colorado – 3 years
  • Connecticut – 2 years
  • Delaware – 2 years
  • District of Columbia (i.e., Washington, D.C.) – 3 years
  • Florida – 4 years
  • Hawaii – 2 years
  • Indiana – 2 years
  • Kansas – 2 years
  • Louisiana – 1 year
  • Maine – 6 years
  • Maryland – 3 years
  • Massachusetts – 3 years
  • Michigan – 3 years
  • Mississippi – 3 years
  • Missouri – 5 years
  • Nebraska – 4 years
  • New Hampshire – 3 years
  • New Jersey – 6 years
  • New York – 3 years
  • North Carolina – 3 years
  • North Dakota – 6 years
  • Ohio – 4 years
  • Oklahoma – 2 years
  • Pennsylvania – 2 years
  • South Carolina – 3 years
  • Texas – 2 years
  • Vermont – 3 years
  • Washington – 3 years
  • West Virginia – 2 years
  • Wyoming – 4 years

States Where You Have Less Time to File an Auto Accident Lawsuit for Your Injury Than Property Damage Alone

In the following states, there are different deadlines for filing personal injury and property damage suits:

  • California – 2 years for bodily injury, 3 years for property damage
  • Georgia – 2 years for bodily injury, 4 years for property damage
  • Idaho – 2 years for bodily injury, 3 years for property damage
  • Illinois – 2 years for bodily injury, 5 years for property damage
  • Iowa – 2 years for bodily injury, 5 years for property damage
  • Kentucky – 1 year for bodily injury, 2 years for property damage
  • Minnesota – 2 years for bodily injury, 6 years for property damage
  • Montana – 3 years for bodily injury, 2 years for property damage
  • Nevada – 2 years for bodily injury, 3 years for property damage
  • New Mexico – 3 years for bodily injury, 4 years for property damage
  • Oregon – 2 years for bodily injury, 6 years for property damage
  • Rhode Island – 2 years for bodily injury, 10 years for property damage
  • South Dakota – 3 years for bodily injury, 6 years for property damage
  • Tennessee – 1 year for bodily injury, 3 years for property damage
  • Utah – 4 years for bodily injury, 3 years for property damage
  • Virginia – 2 years for bodily injury, 5 years for property damage
  • Wisconsin – 3 years for bodily injury, 6 years for property damage

Auto accident lawsuit statutes of limitations can change, so always consult an attorney about your claim as quickly as possible. Otherwise, try checking your state’s Department of Justice or Courts website to verify the correct time frame for your situation.

Ready to see if you may qualify? Complete your free online auto accident case evaluation now!

Margot Lester
CEO at The Word Factory | + posts

Margot Lester is the CEO of The Word Factory, a content marketing agency based in North Carolina that provides services for international healthcare brands, tech companies and SaaS developers. An award-winning business and brand journalist, she writes for daily and weekly newspapers and business journals, national magazines, in-flight publications and leading websites. Margot is also an in-demand writing coach and organizational communications trainer, helping individuals and teams write more effectively. LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/margotlester.

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