How long you have to report an accident to State Farm depends on the circumstances.
State Farm Insurance does not have specific deadlines for filing traffic collision claims. However, the insurance company does require policyholders to tell the insurer they were in a crash as soon as possible.
State Farm even offers ways to notify your agent of a crash and begin a claim online or on the phone while you are still at the accident scene. This is not always the best course of action, though.
Notifying Your Insurance Company About Your Accident
State Farm includes notifying your agent as one of the first things to do after ensuring you are safe. Since your insurance policy is a contract between you and the insurer, you are legally obligated to let it know about the crash as quickly as your injuries allow.
However, this should simply require you to let them know there was an accident and give them a few brief facts. Stick to when and where the crash occurred. Do not tell them you are not injured or that property damage is minor. It is difficult to know this early, and your insurance company is not on your side.
This is especially true if it also represents the other driver or if you will need to file a claim based on your uninsured motorist benefits.
What Happens When State Farm Is My Insurer, and I Have Full-Coverage Benefits?
If you have full coverage (collision) insurance, State Farm will offer to handle your claim by paying out your compensation—minus your deductible—based on this policy. It will then go after the at-fault driver’s insurer to recover its money and your deductible. This is called subrogation.
Using your collision coverage is likely not the best option unless you have a property damage claim with only minor injuries and know your financial losses.
Like any other insurance company, your insurer will attempt to pay out only the minimum necessary. While State Farm’s customers have given it excellent ratings, it is still a company, and adjusters must still look out for their employer’s bottom line.
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What If the Other Driver Has State Farm, But I Have Another Company?
When the other driver has State Farm, you should notify your insurer as soon as possible but do not reach out to State Farm yet. An adjuster may connect with you to make an offer, but you should not:
- Speak with them
- Give a recorded statement for any reasons
- Cash a check
- Sign anything
- Discuss settlement offers
Before taking any of these steps, you will need to develop strong evidentiary support of your insurance claim, value your damages, and know what your case is worth. Many times, insurers will make early offers that look like a lot of money. However, you still have treatment, lost wages, ongoing care costs, pain and suffering, and other losses to consider.
Your injuries should be at maximum medical improvement (MMM), or you should have a good idea of your prognosis before you value your case. You should not have to pay for your care out of your own pocket, but this could happen if you agree to a settlement too early.
What Is the Deadline for Filing a Claim?
While no deadline technically applies to filing a State Farm car insurance claim, each state has a statute of limitations on suing in these cases. These laws set a de facto deadline for insurance claims. This is because the ability to sue the at-fault party provides important leverage for victims in settlement negotiations.
Deadlines for suing a negligent driver vary. For example, in the Gulf South, you may have up to:
- One year to sue in Louisiana under Civ. Code Art. 3492
- Two years to begin the process in Alabama per Code § 6-2-38
- Three years to file the paperwork in Arkansas per Code Ann. § 16-56-105
- Three years to prepare the case in Mississippi under Code Ann. § 15-1-49
There are also exceptions that could increase or reduce this period.
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Working With an Attorney Could Help You Get a Fair Settlement in Your Case
One advantage of working with a car accident attorney is that they will handle all communications with the insurers for you. If you do not hire an attorney immediately, you may still need to notify State Farm about your crash if you are a policyholder. However, you can defer any future communications from the insurer to your law firm.
Your lawyer will make sure you meet all deadlines, have a strong claim, and pursue the damages you are due based on the expenses and losses you incurred.
Talk to an Attorney from Morris Bart, LLC, for Free Today
You can discuss your legal options and how to file a claim based on your traffic accident with an attorney for free today. Our law firm has offices across Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi.
Call (800) 537-8185 now to learn more.
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