If you were injured in a car accident in Florida, it might be months before you are well enough to consider taking legal action against another party or your insurance company. You might believe you can rely on your insurance company to cover all your medical costs and expenses, but at some point, the extent of your injuries or the actions of your insurance company might compel you to consider a lawsuit. Luckily, you have more than six months to file a personal injury lawsuit arising from a vehicle accident. Our experienced Miami car accident attorney discusses these legal deadlines in more detail below.
Florida Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents
In Florida, state laws exist that limit the time in which someone can file a lawsuit against another individual or entity. Known as “statutes of limitations,” these laws are dependent on the type of claim. For instance, if you were the victim of medical malpractice, you would have to file your claim within two years of the incident that caused the harm.
But, can you file for a car accident injury in Florida six months from the crash? Most personal injury claims in Florida require you to file your lawsuit within four years of the injury; this includes most car accidents. If you suffered an injury in a car accident – whether you were a driver, passenger, or pedestrian – then, under Florida Statutes section 95.11(3)(a), you must file your lawsuit within four years of the date of your accident. This same limitation applies to a claim over property damage or the loss of your vehicle.
Florida law does make a distinction between personal injury lawsuits and wrongful death claims resulting from vehicle accidents. If a loved one was killed in an accident, your family has two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the defendant or defendants. Under Florida Statutes section 95.11(4)(d), this time window starts on the date of the individual’s death, not the date of the actual accident.
In nearly every instance, a court will not consider your case if you file your lawsuit after the statutory deadline. While there are rare exceptions that allow the deadline to be suspended or extended, it is crucial to act quickly. If the four years are running out, you need to call our Florida attorney right away.
Suing for a Car Accident Injury in Florida Six Months Later
Four years might feel like plenty of time in which to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, even though it might appear that you have a significant amount of time to make a decision, it is crucial to contact Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA as soon as possible. Keep in mind that building a successful personal injury case takes time, resources, and, most importantly, evidence.
Our office will want to talk with eyewitnesses, review police reports, and investigate the accident scene as close to the date of the accident as possible. Critical information could be lost if you fail to act in a timely fashion, especially if you wait years from the time of the accident. Substantial changes could take place at or around the accident scene; evidence could be lost or misplaced; and eyewitnesses might no longer be available to answer questions or testify.
Often, the value of your personal injury case is tied directly to the severity of your injuries. Furthermore, those injuries must have resulted from the accident. Any delays in seeking medical attention or having your injuries documented opens opportunities for the defense to question the origin of your wounds. By working together with medical professionals, our legal team will be able to begin establishing a documented connection between the harm you suffered and your car accident. The longer you wait to have your medical condition properly addressed, the more challenging it becomes to build a convincing personal injury claim.
Your insurance company or the defendant’s insurance company may also contact you before you retain an attorney. It is not uncommon for people to sign away their full legal rights because an insurance company offered a relatively small settlement agreement. In the hope of an advantageous settlement, an insurance company might attempt to get you to sign documents that release them from liability. Additionally, any communication you have with an insurance company is recorded and saved; this communication could potentially hinder your personal injury lawsuit.
Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Claims in Florida
In addition to the required auto insurance, Florida residents can purchase an additional underinsured/uninsured motorist policy. This supplementary insurance is specifically designed to protect the policyholder if an at-fault driver is uninsured, underinsured, or unable to be located. If you are filing a claim against an insurance company based on your insurance policy’s coverage and not the negligence of another motorist, the deadline is five years instead of four; under Florida law, this is considered a lawsuit based on a contract.
Call Our Florida Car Accident Attorney for a Free Consultation
You have legal rights if you were injured in a car accident, and it is important to protect them. While you have four years to file a lawsuit, any hesitation only serves to make your case more challenging. Additionally, insurance companies are rarely working in your best interests, so it is critical to have the representation of an experienced Florida attorney before signing any settlement agreements or verbally agreeing to fault. Prosper Shaked is a Miami personal injury attorney dedicated to assisting people hurt in car accidents. If you have been injured in an auto accident, do not hesitate to protect your legal rights. Call Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA at (305) 694-2676 to schedule a free, confidential appointment.