When is the latest that someone can file a car injury claim?

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When is the latest that someone can file a car injury claim?

I saw a blog on-line stating, “You have under MA law 3 years to file a bodily injury claim against whomever injured you. However, if you were injured by an uninsured motorist, you would then have 6 years”. I had a small car accident claim almost 6 months ago and the person who hit me was uninsured. Can I file a claim now, and if so what would be the process?

Asked on August 8, 2011 Massachusetts

Answers:

Stan Helinski / McKinley Law Group

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I've been practicing over a decade, and I've never heard of the 6 year conditional statute.  The law in Mass is that the claim must be filed up to 3 years from the "accrual" of the cause of action.  This isn't necessarily 3 years but may be longer in some circumstances. In a car accident, you can pretty much rely on the date of the accident as the time from which to begin counting.  As with any statute of lims issue, you should always talk to a lawyer before relying on date-- a statute of lims can absolutely bar your claim.  

 

Where you're six month's out, sounds like you will have some time.  

I would call your insurer before filing anything--they may cover it.  

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

MA has a three year statute of limitations in personal injury cases.  This means a lawsuit would have to be filed prior to the three year anniversary of the auto accident.

Since the other driver did not have insurance, you can file your claims for personal injury and property damage which are separate claims through your insurance company if you have uninsured motorist coverage. 

The property damage claim is usually resolved early in the case for repairing the damage to your car.

It would be premature to file your personal injury claim until you complete your medical treatment and are released by the doctor or are declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary which means no further improvement is anticipated.  When you are released by the doctor or declared permanent and stationary, obtain your medical bills, medical reports and documentation of any wage loss.  Your personal injury claim will consist of the medical bills, medical reports and documentation of wage loss. Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance company, reject the offers and file your lawsuit for negligence against the other driver.  Since the other driver didn't have insurance, you may have difficulty enforcing a court judgment against that person because usually people without auto insurance have little or no assets.  After obtaining the judgment in your favor, you could enforce it through a wage garnishment.  If the case is NOT settled with your insurance company, you will need to file your lawsuit for negligence against the at fault driver prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

If you don't have uninsured motorist coverage, then your insurance company will deny your claim and you will need to file your lawsuit for negligence against the other driver.


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