The statute of limitations is a term that defines the “maximum amount of time that parties involved in a dispute have to initiate legal proceedings from the date of the alleged offense”. In car accident cases, it means that any car accident claims or lawsuits arising from an accident must be filed within a certain period, or you will no longer be able to file and will forfeit any rights to compensation from your auto accident.

Car Accident Statute of LimitationsEach state in the US has statutes of limitations for various types of legal cases. They require any car accident lawsuits to be filed in the appropriate court within the designated period. The time limit for when a car accident claim expires varies widely by state. For example, in Kentucky and Tennessee, the statute of limitations for filing a car accident claim is one year. In Maine and North Dakota, the statute of limitations is six years to file a car accident claim.

This makes it very important to research auto accident laws in the state where the auto accident occurred. While it’s never a good idea to wait until the last minute to try and file a car accident claim, there are times when being patient can help increase the amount of the auto accident settlement you receive.

For example, let’s say you were rear ended at a stop light and got whiplash, which is now causing you pain.

To treat the whiplash injury, you’re seeing a chiropractor once per week and it costs $125 each time you see the doctor. At this point you’re not sure how long you’ll have to keep getting treatment, and you’re not sure when you’ll make a full recovery. In an instance like this, if you’re still seeking ongoing medical treatment and are not sure how the injury will heal long term, having a longer statute of limitations for your car accident will allow you to wait until you’ve made a full recovery and tallied up all your medical bills before asking for a final settlement amount.


When Does The Statute Of Limitations Not Apply In Car Accident Claims?

However, in some states, the type of injury suffered in the car accident may affect the statute of limitations.

Another exception to the statute of limitations in car accident claims is the age of the victim. For example, some car accident claims that involve people under 18 could have a longer time limit. Usually, the statute of limitations in a car accident claim for injuries to a minor will not start to run until they have reached 18. For instance, if you are hurt in a car accident when you turn 17, you would have three years to file your claim, if the statute of limitations is two years.

Another factor that might lengthen the amount of time the statute of limitations has to run in a car accident claim is the ‘discovery of harm’ rule in mind. The time period does not usually start to run until the person knew they had been injured. This is known as discovery of harm. For example, you may have suffered an accident injury in a car accident that did not become apparent until months after the accident. Theoretically, the statute of limitations clock would not start until you discovered the injury.

Car Accident Statute of Limitations by State:

1. Alabama: 2 years
2. Alaska: 2 years
3. Arizona: 2 years
4. Arkansas: 3 years
5. California: 2 years
6. Colorado: 3 years
7. Connecticut: 2 years
8. Delaware: 2 years
9. Florida: 4 years
10. Georgia: 2 years
11. Hawaii: 2 years
12. Idaho: 2 years
13. Illinois: 2 years
14. Indiana: 2 years
15. Iowa: 2 years
16. Kansas: 2 years
17. Kentucky: 2 years
18. Louisiana: 1 year
19. Maine: 6 years
20. Maryland: 3 years
21. Massachusetts: 3 years
22. Michigan: 3 years
23. Minnesota: 2 years
24. Mississippi: 3 years
25. Missouri: 5 years
26. Montana: 3 years
27. Nebraska: 4 years
28. Nevada: 2 years
29. New Hampshire: 3 years
30. New Jersey: 2 years
31. New Mexico: 3 years
32. New York: 3 years
33. North Carolina: 3 years
34. North Dakota: 6 years
35. Ohio: 2 years
36. Oklahoma: 2 years
37. Oregon: 2 years
38. Pennsylvania: 2 years
39. Rhode Island: 3 years
40. South Carolina: 3 years
41. South Dakota: 3 years
42. Tennessee: 1 year
43. Texas: 2 years
44. Utah: 4 years
45. Vermont: 3 years
46. Virginia: 2 years
47. Washington: 3 years
48. West Virginia: 2 years
49. Wisconsin: 3 years
50. Wyoming: 4 years


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