Is there a time limit for filing an auto accident medical claim?

UPDATED: Jan 5, 2011

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Is there a time limit for filing an auto accident medical claim?

I was in an auto accident in 09/10. I was hit on the passenger side. I didn’t really feel any pain then and was just bruised. Now that a few months have passed I’m noticing that I can’t sleep on my right side, my arm/hand get numb and my shoulder pops. I did go after the accident to the doctor because I didn’t have medical insurance. Can I still seek medical help?

Asked on January 5, 2011 under Personal Injury, California


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

I assume that the other driver was at fault in the auto accident. It is not uncommon for injuries to appear sometime after the accident as you are experiencing. You can still file a personal injury claim against the other driver's insurance carrier.  In CA, there is a two year statute of limitations in personal injury cases.  You can go to the doctor and when you complete your treatment and are released by the doctor, obtain your medical bills and a medical report.  The medical report will document the nature and extent of your injury and will determine the amount of compensation you receive for pain and suffering.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to your medical bills.  Your claim against the other driver's insurance carrier should include your medical bills, compensation for pain and suffering, and any wage loss.   Some doctors will accept a lien, which means they are paid out of the settlement of the case.

If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance carrier, you can file a lawsuit against the other driver for negligence.  If the case is not settled, you will need to file your lawsuit against the other driver prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.  In CA, there is a two year statute of limitations.  Your lawsuit would need to be filed prior to the two year anniversary of the accident.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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