Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic and stressful experience. Between property damage, potential injuries, and all the commotion, dealing with the aftermath of a collision can be tough to process. Involving insurance and the claims process can further complicate matters.
If you have sustained personal injuries or property damage, you may need to file an insurance claim to get the compensation you need to recover. But a question many people have is, How long do I have to file a car accident insurance injury claim in Virginia?
We’ll answer this question and more in the article below. But if you have any questions at all about the car accident insurance claims process in Virginia, contact our car accident attorneys today. We can discuss your case with you and help you determine whether and how to file your car accident insurance claim.
Important Steps to Take After Your Virginia Car Accident
After your Virginia car accident, it is important to take certain steps. Doing so can help protect you, your passengers, and your rights moving forward. Additionally, it can help improve your chances of getting the financial compensation you are entitled to.
If you or a loved one is involved in a car accident in Virginia, you should take the following steps as soon as practicable if you are able to do so:
- Pull your vehicle over to the side of the road out of harm’s way;
- Check yourself and any passengers for injuries;
- Call 911 and report your accident;
- Get contact and insurance information of any other parties involved in the accident;
- Report the accident to your own insurer; and
- Contact a car accident attorney to see if there are any additional steps you should take moving forward.
Failure to take these steps can potentially cause further harm and reduce your rights. So make sure to take these steps as soon as possible after involvement in a car accident in Virginia.
Reporting Your Car Accident in Virginia
Reporting your accident is an important step in the aftermath of a Virginia car accident. But when do you have to report your accident? And how do you do this?
When to Report Your Virginia Car Accident
After your car accident, it is important that you report the incident to authorities as soon as practicable. In fact, this may be required depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding your accident.
The State of Virginia requires you to report your car accident to State police or local law enforcement within 24 hours if the accident results in any of the following:
- Death, or
- Property damage.
As you might expect, the majority of car accidents involve one of these circumstances. Thus, it is crucial that you contact the police when you are involved in a car accident in Virginia.
How to File a Car Accident Report in Virginia
If your accident meets one of the above criteria, you must report your accident. Such a report must include your:
- Driver license number, and
- Vehicle registration number.
Providing this can make the exchange of information easier and can help to simplify the claims process moving forward.
Additionally, it is important to note which people you need to share the report with. The above information must be provided to:
- The state police or local law enforcement agency investigating the accident;
- Any person struck or injured in the accident;
- Any driver or occupant of another vehicle that was struck; and
- The owner or custodian of any damaged property.
Failure to comply with Virginia post-accident laws can result in either a misdemeanor or even felony charge. Thus, it is imperative that you know and understand these requirements and take precautions to ensure that you comply.
How Long Do You Have to Report a Car Accident to Your Insurance?
In addition to reporting your accident to local authorities, you should report it to your insurer. The precise length of time you have to do so will vary from insurer to insurer and policy to policy. However, you should make sure to report your accident as soon as possible.
Many insurers will require you to report your accident soon after it happens, frequently within 30 days. But after you report your accident, you may also need to file a claim, which is another thing entirely. Make sure to do this as soon as possible too.
Some policies may set specific timeframes in which you must file a claim. Other policies may not set a timeframe at all. Thus, make sure to review your insurance policy to ensure that you follow the applicable timelines and requirements.
Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents in Virginia
If you cannot resolve your claim with the opposing party or insurance company directly, you may need to consider bringing a lawsuit. But before filing your lawsuit, it is important to be aware of the statute of limitations for car accident claims in Virginia.
The statute of limitations gives you a certain amount of time following your accident to bring your lawsuit. Under Virginia law, the statute of limitations for bringing your claim or claims depends on the type of accident and extent of damage or injuries incurred.
If you are seeking compensation for injuries caused by the accident, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.
On the other hand, if you are seeking compensation for damage to your vehicle resulting from the accident, you have five years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.
If you have questions about whether and when you should file your claim, contact a Virginia accident attorney to discuss your case.
Consult a Virginia Car Accident Attorney Today
The aftermath of a car accident can be a complicated and time-consuming process. But you don’t have to navigate this process alone.
A Virginia car accident attorney can help you evaluate your claims, negotiate with insurers, and fight to recover the compensation you are entitled to. The personal injury attorneys at River Run Law are focused on helping you recover. We will fight aggressively for your rights to get you the compensation you need and deserve. So contact us today for a free consultation, and see how we can help you.