How Long Do I Have to Make a Car Accident Claim in California?

by Staff Blogger | December 19th, 2022

A bad car accident can upend your life. When you’re facing the cost of car repairs, medical treatment for your injuries, and challenges of daily life, handling time restrictions on making a car insurance claim can feel like an overwhelming task. Some people get help from an auto accident attorney to help with the process and ensure they file a claim in time.

It can be difficult to keep up with claims and filing deadlines after a car accident. Learn how long you have to file a claim after a car accident and how Berg Injury Lawyers can assist with the process.

The Car-Accident Claim Process

When you’ve been in a car accident in California, you must file a claim with your car insurance company immediately, per California law. Some insurance policies have a deadline for filing, so it’s essential to check your policy details.

After filing with your insurance, your insurance company will reach out to you to ask about the circumstances of the accident and assess your damages. While your insurance company will usually work with an adjuster and your repair shop to determine the cost of damages to your car, they won’t take the initiative to investigate other damages.

Damages to anything other than your car, like medical expenses, will need to be documented so you can give them to your insurance company. There may also be deadlines for filing these documents, which will be listed in your insurance policy.

Per the California Department of Insurance, most insurance companies must:

  • Advise you of your policy benefits, coverage, provisions, and time limits.
  • Acknowledge, begin investigating, and correspond with you regarding your claim within 15 days.
  • Accept or deny the claim within 40 days of receiving the proof of claim document.
  • Offer a fair settlement, payable within 30 days of reaching an agreement.

California is an at-fault insurance state, so your insurance and the other driver’s insurance will determine who is most responsible for the accident. The driver considered not at fault will receive monetary compensation for their damages, while the other driver will not receive payment.

What Insurance Companies Will Try to Do

Car insurance companies are often reluctant to cover the damages you’re owed. To try and get out of compensating you, they may deliberately undervalue your car, claim you were at fault for the accident, or refuse to cover medical bills or wages you were unable to earn due to the accident.

Unethical insurance companies may even resort to bad faith tactics like deliberately delaying your claim, causing you to miss a deadline, and then denying your claim because the deadline has passed.

If you’re facing challenging negotiations with the insurance company, get in touch with a Sacramento car accident lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney can review your case and determine whether you’ll need to file a claim in court.

Why You Need a Car Accident Attorney if You’ve Been Injured

Handling the aftermath of a car accident is stressful, even in the best of times. Being badly injured in a car accident makes it significantly harder to keep on top of filing deadlines and necessary paperwork. Hiring a car accident attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers can give you peace of mind and ensure you file a well-supported compensation claim.

Berg Injury Lawyers has a team of experienced car accident attorneys who can help you through the claims process and ensure you file on schedule. If the other driver or their insurance company is unwilling to pay you what you’re owed, we will be prepared to fight to get you the compensation you deserve.

Let a lawyer handle the legal aftermath of your car accident so you can focus on getting your life back to normal. Contact us today for a free consultation and get started on your claim.