Meeting an accident is logically unexpected. It happens especially when you are all-geared up for a very special affair and all of a sudden you get hooked into dispute of whether you are at-fault or not. Once proven that the other driver is liable for the accident, all you need to do is file a claim. For instances when the driver is not insured, you have to sue him in court for assurance of payment for damages.
Most insurance companies have included in their policy packages the duration of filing for a claim or a law suit. Most of the time, drivers who meet an accident and who are at the same time not at-fault are usually more advanced in filing a claim. It is understood that the need for a claim is urgent because nobody would want to use a vehicle ravaged by a bump or a hit of some careless drivers on the road.
There are provisions on all insurance contracts which state how long you should file the claim or the lawsuit in order to charge for damages and repairs. This duration is commonly known as the Contractual Statute of limitations which provides time for the policy holder to file. More often than not, insurance companies do not entertain claims right after the accident because the event should be evaluated by the insurance agents of both parties.
Policies may state that you have to file a claim one year right from the date of the incident or a lawsuit from the time your claim was denied.
Reading through your insurance policy would help in knowing the right time when to file a claim. In some areas in the United States, it has been clearly stated that insurers are mandated to disclose to the claimant or the beneficiary the coverage, benefits, time limits and other provisions of the policy. This is called the fair claims settlement regulation. California is an example of a state which religiously encourages insurers to adhere to this provision.
If you are the claimant, it is indeed advisable that you file the claim as soon as possible. There is no other reason for waiting too long before making a move. It is better than this than explaining the delay or even proving to the adjuster that no further harm was done to the vehicle right after the accident. File your claim while the damage is fresh.