Car Accident Claim: How Long Do I Have to File

It’s not unusual for car accident victims to take some time after the crash to recover. The last thing on their minds is filing their insurance claim. They assume they have plenty of time to do this. By the time they get around to it, they’re told their claim has been denied. They took too long to report the accident to the insurance company. After they calm down a bit, they realize they’re in over their head. They know they need help if they want their claim to be paid. That’s when they pick up the phone and call one of our Greenville injury lawyers.

Here, we’ll talk about the filing deadlines you face in South Carolina. We’ll also discuss what options you have if your accident claim is denied for being untimely. If you still have questions about your case, feel free to contact our office directly.

Have You Ever Read the Fine Print on Your Auto Insurance Policy?

If you’ve never read the fine print on your auto insurance policy, you’re not alone. When most people purchase their insurance, they don’t think they’ll ever need it. Of course, they assume their car could be hit by an errant driver. Or they worry about getting involved in a minor fender bender. But the idea of getting into a serious accident that costs thousands of dollars in medical bills doesn’t occur to us. This is why so many of us have a hard time figuring out how long we have to file our insurance claim.

It’s not a bad idea to take the time to read through your policy in detail. At least pay attention to the parts that directly affect you. For example, look to see how much your deductibles are. You should also pay attention to the clauses that speak to your coverage amounts. Finally, look to see if you can find where it says how long you have to file your claim.

Your Car Accident Attorney in Greenville Knows that Insurance Policies Can Be Vague

Insurance companies have entire teams of legal professionals who help them draft their terms and conditions. They intentionally leave some terms vague. This allows them to build in additional protection when it comes time to pay out auto claims.

You may read your policy and find that there is no specific language regarding filing deadlines. Instead, the policy may state that you must file your claim within a “reasonable time.” The problem is that what is reasonable to one person may seem unreasonable to another. By doing this, the insurance company knows that they’ll be able to dismiss or deny a certain percentage of claims for being untimely.

The good news is that your Greenville injury lawyer is quite familiar with these tactics. They can appeal your claim and argue that you did file it in a reasonable time frame. Of course, whether the insurance adjuster decides to approve your claim or not is entirely up to them. If they choose to deny it even after your attorney gets involved, you still have options.

Your Greenville Injury Lawyer Can Always File a Lawsuit on Your Behalf

Even if your auto claim is denied, you can always pursue the matter further. There’s no reason why your Greenville injury lawyer can’t file a lawsuit against the other driver. If they do this, the insurance company will be legally required to represent the other driver in court.

Once you file suit, the defendant will have 30 days to respond. If they have insurance, you can bet the insurance company will wait until the last minute to file their answer. Once they’ve done this, you can expect both sides to ask the court to dismiss the other side’s claim.

Typically, neither side is going to win on this motion to dismiss. What will happen is that your car accident attorney in Greenville will exchange discovery with the other side. At the same time, they will work on negotiating a settlement with the defendant’s lawyer and the insurance company. The goal is to settle the matter out of court. Nobody really wants to go to trial. They’re expensive and time consuming.

You Must Make Sure You Don’t Miss the Statute of Limitations Filing Deadline

Every state has its own rules about how long you have to file a civil lawsuit. When it comes to personal injury, South Carolina law states that you must file your case within three years. The three years starts on the date of your accident.

Unlike your insurance claim filing deadline, which may be vague, the statute of limitations deadline in South Carolina is very specific and very firm. If you miss this deadline, your case will be dismissed. You won’t be able to refile, and you’ll walk away with nothing.

This is just one more reason why you should hire an experienced Greenville injury lawyer to handle your case. They are familiar with the court rules and will make sure your lawsuit is filed on time. You also don’t want to wait until the last minute to hire an attorney. They’ll need ample time to prepare your case. If you wait until the last minute, they may not have enough time to properly file your case.

An Experienced Car Accident Attorney in Greenville Can Help

If you filed your insurance claim too late and it’s been denied, we can help. All you have to do is reach out to one of our experienced car accident attorneys in Greenville, South Carolina. Our associates have decades of combined experience handling cases just like yours. We can help you appeal your insurance claim. If that doesn’t work, we’ll file a lawsuit on your behalf.

It can be confusing to navigate the world of auto insurance. We understand that. That’s why we work so hard to get our clients the compensation they deserve. Call today and schedule your free, initial consultation.