If you have no success reaching a settlement with an insurance company, you may be forced to consider bringing a lawsuit in small claims or other court. But you must be aware of the laws, called "statutes of limitations," that limit the time in which you have to file. If you miss your state's deadline, you will lose your right to recover compensation in court, and will be forced to abandon your claim altogether.
Check your state's laws to find the time limit that applies to your case. You can find a list of the statutes of limitations for all 50 states in the article Statutes of Limitations: Is It Too Late to Sue?