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How Long Do Accidents Stay on Your Record?

Driving a vehicle on a daily basis is a necessity for a lot of people. While driving a car is generally safe, accidents do happen from time to time. When an accident does occur, it can have a variety of negative outcomes including accident damage, police citations and a negative mark on your driving record. If an accident is on your record, it could impact your auto insurance rates for years and affect other parts of your life as well. The amount of time that an accident does remain on your record will vary based on a variety of factors. 

State Law

One of the factors that will influence how long an accident will remain on your record is based on state law. Many states have laws surrounding how long a minor accident can remain on your driving record. This period of time will typically range from three to five years. If you live in a state that has a point-based driving record system, the points can remain on your record for the same period of time. The number of points that you will receive can vary based on a variety of factors including whether there was reckless driving or other more serious charges that went along with the accident.

Insurance Company Policy

Another factor that will determine how long an accident will remain on your record is the policy of your insurance company. All insurance companies maintain records for when vehicle repair claims are made. The records will also identify whether the insured party was at fault in an accident. If you are charged with a DUI or other serious violation, the information could then remain for a period of ten years or more. This information will be retained by your insurance company for several years and will continue to be used when they assess whether to renew your policy and what your premiums should be. The accident information is then shared with other major insurance companies as well. 

Accident Forgiveness

One factor that could limit the amount of time that an accident is on your record is whether you have accident forgiveness as part of your insurance plan. For those that have a clean driving record in the past with minimal accidents on their record, insurance companies will offer a promotion that automatically removes an accident from their driving record. This could help you avoid any inconveniences and insurance cost changes that are associated with a minor accident. The forgiveness is often tied to the amount of damages that occurred and had to paid out by the insurance provider after an accident. 

Criminal Activity Associated with Accident

While most small car accidents will be off of your record within a few years, if the accident also resulted in a criminal charge, it could potentially remain on your record for much longer. If you were charged with a DUI, reckless driving or other serious moving violations, it could also result in a criminal charge. This could result in serious penalization and even result in a loss of driving privileges. Depending on the state that you are in, these criminal charges could remain on your record for ten years or more. In some severe situations, it could remain on your criminal record for the rest of your life. 

Impact of Accidents on Record

When you are involved in any type of car accident, it could remain on your record for years. Unfortunately, this can affect your life several ways. One of the most common ways that it will impact you is by increasing your auto insurance rates. If you are at fault for an accident, the insurance provider will consider you a higher risk driver for a period of time until the accident falls off your record. Even if you are not at fault in the accident, filing a claim to have your vehicle repaired could affect your insurance rates. If a vehicle accident is serious enough to warrant criminal charges, it can impact your ability to get a job, take out certain types of loans and even find a place to live. 

If you are involved in any type of car accident, it is very important that you have an attorney by your side. Even minor accidents can result in police and accident reports that could remain on your record for years, which can impact several areas of your life. A car accident lawyer can offer a range of services to ensure that your rights are properly represented, and that the accident is off your record as quickly as possible. No matter what side of the accident you are on and who is at fault, the attorney can also help you receive the best settlement possible which could save you a considerable amount of money and help clean up your record.