Most states require victims to lodge a personal injury claim within two or three years after a motor vehicle accident. Therefore, as long as you have notified your insurer of the accident, you can file your claim before the lapse of the statute of limitations. However, delays in filing your claim can hurt your case and cause your claim to be denied. Sometimes, you may receive less compensation than you expected. Below are four ways a delay in filing your claim can hurt your motor vehicle accident case.
Inaccurate Witness and Victim Statements
Car accident witnesses play a key role in solidifying an injury claim. They corroborate your statements regarding the at-fault party and what led to the crash. However, as time goes by, memories fade, and the events leading to the accident become blurry. The insurance company may deny your claim if you or your witnesses can't accurately remember the facts. Filing the claim while the memories are still fresh can improve the outcome of your case.
Accident Scene Tampering
Some motor vehicle accident claims require experts to assess the scene and collect data on what might have led to the crash. Therefore, if the scene gets tampered with before this happens, you won't be able to collect data. For example, an accident scene may get repaired shortly after the crash, leaving you with little evidence to support your claim.
Also, the defendant may alter, scrap, or sell their vehicle before your experts review it for evidence. If you file your case early, your attorney will find experts to collect measurements and data before the tampering of the scene. They can also send a demand letter instructing the defendant not to alter or sell the vehicle until after the settlement.
Loss of Evidence
Car accident evidence can be in the form of photos, dashcam and surveillance videos, witness records, and expert reports. Over time, some evidence may be lost, putting a dent in your case. You may lose your mobile phone with all the photos from the crash. Also, any available CCTV footage may get deleted. Some witnesses may move or change their contact information, making it hard for you to track them down. File your claim early so that your lawyer can collect the evidence needed to build your case.
Injury and Claim Disputes
When you take too long to file an injury claim, the defendant's insurer may try to downplay the claim and your injuries. If you have already recovered, the insurer may claim that your injuries weren't severe, and they may try to bait you into taking a lower compensation amount. Filing your claim immediately after the accident erases any doubts regarding the extent and severity of your injuries.
File your injury claim immediately after a car accident to avoid the above issues. For more information, contact a firm like the Law Office Of Timothy M. O'Donovan.