After a car accident, things can be incredibly stressful. You may need time to recover from injuries, you may need to arrange time off work, and you could have to arrange additional help for child care. Your last priority might be talking to insurance companies or a lawyer about how to get compensation. It is better to get to the question of compensation sooner rather than later since you have a limited amount of time to sue for car accident injuries in Florida. Miami car accident lawyer Prosper Shaked of Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA discusses how long after a car crash you have to file an injury lawsuit in Florida.
How Long Can I Wait to Sue After a Car Accident?
Florida law sets a limitation on how long you have to sue after an injury. At the core of any car accident lawsuit is typically the injuries you suffer, which makes car accident lawsuits a type of personal injury lawsuit. In Florida, the law restricts you to filing personal injury cases based on negligence within 4 years of the injury.
“Negligence” is the foundation of many injury cases. In a negligence lawsuit, you claim that the at-fault party failed to use the proper care or skill required of them, which caused your injuries. In a car accident lawsuit, this typically means pointing to things like speeding or texting while driving to prove that the at-fault driver did something unsafe and should pay for the damages they caused you.
Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Injuries in Florida
The law that places a limit on how long you have to sue is known as a “statute of limitations.” Statutes of limitations are different for different types of lawsuits, and even criminal charges have statutes of limitations. For car accidents, the statute of limitations is set to 4 years.
The statute of limitations dictates the maximum time you can wait to file the case. This means that you do not need to complete the lawsuit during that period; you just need to file the case. Moreover, there is no waiting period for lawsuits, and you can file them as soon as the injury occurs. However, it is far more likely that injury victims will take the time to recover at the hospital, find a lawyer, and then file the case sometime in the next few months after their lawyer has had the time to research and build their case.
If you file your case too late, it is barred from being filed. The defendant and the court itself each have the right to block the case if your lawsuit is filed more than 4 years after the accident. However, some exceptions might give you additional time to file, especially if you were a minor when the accident occurred.
Should I Wait to File My Car Accident Case?
In most cases, you will have to spend some time waiting before you can file your case. At the very least, you will have some delay time between when you first contact a lawyer and when they can get the paperwork finished to file the case. You should also take the time to allow your injuries to heal. However, waiting too long to file can be detrimental to your case. Waiting more than 4 years to file your car accident case can mean losing the claim entirely, but there are other downsides to waiting to file an auto accident lawsuit.
First, the sooner you have a car accident attorney working on your case, the more thorough your lawyer’s investigation and evidence collection can be. Hiring an attorney early in the process means that your attorney is available to discuss the accident with you in the early aftermath, getting the most accurate picture of what happened before your memory starts to fade. Your lawyer can also collect pictures of the accident scene, your injuries, damage to your vehicle, and similar pictures of the victim and their situation before wounds start to close and damage is repaired.
Second, your attorney can guide you through how to handle a lawsuit. While you have a lawsuit pending, it is vital not to post revealing information to social media sites or to discuss your case with other people. Spreading information about your case means that there are potentially contradictory statements out in the world that can be used to challenge what you say in court. Additionally, evidence of a quick recovery posted to social media might undermine your claims for pain and suffering or reduced wages and reduced earning capacity.
Third, a lawyer can protect you from settlement temptations and insurance companies. The other driver and the insurance companies involved may try to offer you settlements that reduce your potential damages. A lawyer can help you understand these settlements and reject low-ball offers.
Lastly, your lawyer can help you build a strong case from the beginning. Filing a case quickly and aggressively shows you mean business. In addition, you can keep ongoing records of the expenses you face, including medical expenses and lost wages. Your lawyer can also help you document your injuries and recovery in a way that you can present it to the court.
Call Our Miami Car Accident Lawyer Immediately for a Free Legal Consultation
While you may have some time to delay filing your injury lawsuit after a car accident, it is better to hire an attorney as early in the process as you can. If you or a loved one was hurt in a car accident, call Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA and Miami personal injury lawyer Prosper Shaked today to schedule a free legal consultation on your case. Our number is (305) 694-2676.