Auto insurance policy with key and miniature carThe minute an accident incurs, you have a limited time frame to file a claim with your insurance company. If you go over that time window, then you have little recourse for seeking compensation. The time frame differs depending on state of residence and the type of accident. It is imperative that you get in touch with your provider ASAP following an accident to ensure you meet deadlines. You may also want to get in contact with a personal injury lawyer if the accident resulted in bodily injury.

New York Statute of Limitations

Most states have a time frame of two to three years from the date of the accident to file an injury claim with your insurance. The reason for the extended time is because if injuries incurred, they may not manifest until weeks or even several months later.

Under New York law, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim if the incident resulted in bodily injury that required medical assistance. If the accident only involved property damage, then you have three years to file a claim.

There are, however, additional filing deadlines within that two to three-year timeframe:

  • You have 30 days to file with your insurance under the state’s no-fault law (described in the next section)
  • You have 90 days to file with the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC). This organization normally handles claims in which the driver at fault does not have insurance.
  • For auto-related accidents, you will need to report the incident to DMV within 10 days if the collision resulted in damage and/or injury that exceeds $2,000 in damages.

New York’s No-Fault Law

When it comes to auto accidents, New York follows the no-fault car rule. This means any injury claims must first be handled through your personal insurance provider. It is your provider or the provider of the driver at fault that will cover the medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses. Under the no-fault rule, you cannot seek compensation for non-monetary damages, such as emotional pain and suffering.

Why You Should Notify Your Insurance Right Away

Keep in mind that individual insurance companies may also have their own policies regarding deadlines for claim filing. Always check with your personal provider. This is usually referred to as a notice period. In any case, always report an accident as soon as possible. We recommend reporting within 24 hours regardless of who was at fault. You can even report while you’re still at the scene of the accident. Do not conflate the state’s statute of limitations with your insurance’s individual reporting deadline.

When you notify your insurance, they will give you an exact date regarding other claim deadlines. In nearly every instance, the clock begins to run starting from the date of the accident. Report the accident right away even if you believe damage is minimal and you don’t intend to file a claim.

By reporting in a timely manner, an agent can talk you through what may be a stressful and even traumatic moment. The provider can walk you through the next steps and course of actions. The agent will also examine the details of your case and inform whether you have grounds for a claim. If so, this includes what you can and cannot be compensated for. In essence, you will get a lot of logistical advice as well as emotional support from a knowledgeable expert.

Get in Touch with an Injury Attorney

If the accident resulted in significant bodily injury or property damage, then we recommend getting in contact with an attorney. The provider of the other party may dispute the claim, and you will benefit from having legal representation by a personal injury lawyer from Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman P.C.  A car accident lawyer will take on your case and use his/her knowledge of New York law to fight on your behalf in civil court.