There is no easy answer to the question, “How long do I have to report a car accident” because so many factors must be considered. First, did the car accident result from any illegal behavior such as drinking and driving or using illegal substances while driving? Was anyone hurt in the accident? Was anyone killed in the car accident? Did all parties in the car accident stay at the scene?
If you’re wondering how long you have to report a car accident so you can pursue a personal injury claim against the person who hit you, then the answer is simple: You should immediately report the car accident. Even waiting one day after the accident can do serious damage to your personal injury claim. After calling 911 for serious injuries and filing a police report, your very next step must be to contact a personal injury attorney to seek representation for your car accident injury claim.
If you were just in a car accident and were hurt, you may be curious as to how much money you may be entitled to if the negligence of the other driver or someone else caused your accident. If you have lost time from work, if you have costly medical expenses, and/of if you’ve endured pain and suffering that affects your day-to-day life, you may have a valid legal claim for damages.
Following a car accident, you have two choices: to file a car accident claim through your insurance company and accepting what the insurance company offers, or working with a personal injury lawyer to negotiate your settlement or pursue a lawsuit. Working with a lawyer affords you a much better chance of coming out ahead because your lawyer will have more knowledge and experience to present your best case, negotiate and settle with the insurance company than you can on your own.
Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents
One factor to keep in mind when considering hiring a lawyer is the statute of limitations. Oregon has a two-year statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit. So, if even you are seriously injured in a car accident in Oregon, if you don’t file a lawsuit within two years following your car accident, you will be forever barred.
In every state, special circumstances may affect the filing deadline set by the statute of limitations. These exceptions are always clearly defined by statute, and while these exceptions vary from state to state, here are the most common exceptions:
- The injured person was a minor at the time of the accident
- The injured person was mentally incapacitated at the time of the accident
- The person who caused the accident leaves the state for a certain amount of time, (he cannot be served with a personal injury lawsuit)
Statutes of limitations only apply to personal injury lawsuits; the insurance claim process through your car insurance company almost always starts before the deadline to file a lawsuit.
If you have questions about your right to file a personal injury claim in Oregon, call the Law Office of J. Clay McCaslin to schedule a free consultation.