Florida Car Accident Statute of Limitations
Obtaining full and fair compensation after being injured in a Florida car accident may require you to file a claim with your insurance company and, possibly, a legal claim. But there are time limits to file personal injury claims in Florida. Fail to meet them, and you could risk losing compensation altogether.
Figuring out filing deadlines — and keeping track of them — can be challenging, particularly when you’re dealing with serious injuries and trying to get your life on track again. Hiring an experienced Florida car accident lawyer can take the burden off of you. A skilled lawyer can manage all dealings with the insurance company and ensure court documents are filed in a timely way. Even more importantly, your attorney can protect you from settling too soon and losing out on valuable compensation that you will need in the future.
Contact us or call 1-800-LAW-3030 to schedule a free consultation.
Statute of Limitations for Florida Car Accident Claims
In every state, you must file a lawsuit in court before a certain time limit expires. This is called the statute of limitations. In Florida, the statute of limitations for filing a car accident claim is four years from the date of the crash.
If you miss the deadline, the court will most likely dismiss your case. There are rare situations in which judges may be willing to extend the deadline, such as when the injured individual is a minor or where the injury did not did not manifest until weeks or months after the crash.
When you work with a car accident lawyer, he or she will assess when the best time to file a legal claim will be. While you must file within the statute of limitations, you don’t want to settle a lawsuit until you know what the long-term consequences of the accident will be.
There are other deadlines to remember. For example, Florida PIP insurance laws require you to seek medical treatment within two weeks (14 days) of the crash. Neglecting to do so could result in the claim being denied by your insurer.
If you have question about timelines for filing insurance claims and lawsuits after a crash in Tampa, Winter Haven, or a surrounding area, contact Brooks Law Group for a free case review.
Car Accident Claims Process
When you are injured in a car accident in Florida, state law requires you to look to your insurance company for help, regardless of who is at fault. However, just because you must exhaust your own benefits first does not mean that you can’t file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages. Florida law simply requires you to attempt to recover compensation from your insurance company first.
When you submit a PIP claim, your insurance company has 30 days to either accept or deny the claim. If the claim is denied, the insurance company must provide you with a written reason explaining why. You will have an opportunity to appeal the denial, and a knowledgeable Florida car accident lawyer can help you with the claims process.
How Do I Know If I Have A Legal Claim?
If you have suffered an injury in a car accident, you likely have an insurance claim for compensation because Florida is a no-fault state. Whether you have a legal claim in Florida depends on whether you meet the state’s serious injury threshold.
A serious injury is defined as:
- Significant permanent loss of a bodily function
- Permanent injury
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
Keep in mind that a number of factors will impact the strength of your Florida car accident claim. An attorney can provide clarity and help you set realistic expectations for your case.
How Does a Car Accident Settlement Work?
Most car accident claims result in a settlement. A settlement is a certain sum of money agreed upon by you and the insurance company to resolve the claim. In exchange for a settlement, you give up the right to file a lawsuit over the car accident.
Initial settlement offers are almost always lower than what you will truly deserve. An attorney can be an important ally for you during the settlement process to maximize your total recovery. Your lawyer will urge you not to settle quickly. Instead, he or she will wait until the ultimate outcome of your injuries is fully understood. In many car accident claims, the final prognosis for a victim can’t be known until months after the collision. To improve your chances of making a full and fair recovery, you should always have a trusted car accident lawyer review any offers before you accept them.
What Do I Do After A Car Accident?
After being injured in a car accident in Florida, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. When you contact the Florida car accident attorneys at Brooks Law Group, you can rest assured that all the necessary steps will be taken to give you the best possible chance at recovery. Before you contact us, you can help your own claim by taking certain steps.
- Try to remain calm. Your priority should be your health and safety. If you have a phone, dial 911. If not, ask someone else to call 911.
- Check on passengers in your vehicle. Is anyone else injured? If you are in a position to provide first aid, do so. Do not move anyone who appears to have a serious injury, particularly to the head, neck, or spine.
- Gather information. If possible, take notes of the facts and circumstances of the accident (e.g., time, place, what occurred, etc.). Get the insurance information for all drivers involved, as well as their license plate numbers, names, addresses, and phone numbers.
- Identify witnesses. Anyone who saw the car accident can be a valuable resource as your lawyer collects evidence to support your claim for compensation. Ask for the witness’s name, phone number, and address.
- Cooperate with emergency personnel and police. When paramedics arrive, follow their instructions. Give the police the facts of the accident calmly. Don’t move your vehicle unless it is blocking traffic and at risk of causing a secondary crash.
- Seek medical attention. Go to the hospital, even if you think you are fine. You need a doctor to diagnose your condition and injuries. If you are not advised to go to the emergency room, make an appointment with your doctor to check for injuries anyway. Make sure to tell the physician that the exam is related to a car accident. Medical records will be important evidence if you choose to file a claim later.
- Notify your insurer. If you are involved in a car accident, insurance companies require you to file a claim in a timely manner. It is essential that you do not offer any recorded statement about the crash before consulting a Florida car accident attorney. Similarly, you should never consider accepting a settlement offer before talking to a trusted car accident lawyer.
- Don’t talk about the crash. In addition to avoiding insurance companies, you should refrain from discussing the car accident in general. Never post about the crash on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media outlets. Any evidence that you put online could be used against you by the opposing party.
- Get a police report. When pursuing a claim against the driver or party who caused your accident, a copy of the police report can substantiate what happened.
- Contact an experienced Florida car accident lawyer. Hiring a highly skilled personal injury lawyer is crucial because you are putting your future in their hands. You want a car accident lawyer you can trust to protect your interests and fight tirelessly for the justice and compensation you deserve.
- Rest and recover. When pursuing compensation after a car accident, it is critical that you follow your doctor’s orders. Insurance companies may monitor you to see if you are going to work or engaging in activities against medical advice. Never miss a doctor’s appointment or therapy session while you are recovering.
- Keep a journal. In addition to medical bills (past, present, and future) and lost income, a car accident legal claim in Florida can include compensation for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. One of the most effective ways to document these damages is to keep a daily journal in which you write down how you feel each day. These details can help maximize the financial compensation you can recover.
Why Should I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
You are not required to hire an attorney to file an injury claim in Florida. However, it’s highly recommended that you do. Florida insurance laws are complicated and insurance companies have well-trained adjusters in place to minimize your claims for damages. It’s easy for insurance companies to dismiss a claim over minor legal issues. Without the help of a seasoned attorney, you may struggle to counter their claims effectively. An insurer could also pressure you into accepting a settlement that is much less than what your case is actually worth.
With a lawyer by your side, you can count on someone who is not only well-versed in Florida law, but who also knows previous court results in cases similar to yours. That background information can help place a value on your case, anticipate challenges, and outline strategies to build a strong and solid claim.
How Can Brooks Law Group Help Me?
The car accident attorneys at Brooks Law Group have helped countless victims get fair settlements. Our qualified Florida car accident lawyers can help with all aspects of your claim, including:
- Investigating the facts of your car accident case to determine who was really at fault
- Working with investigators and accident reconstruction experts to determine the true cause of serious crashes
- Gathering important evidence needed to build a strong case
- Consulting with medical experts to determine the extent of your injuries and how they will affect the rest of your life
- Communicating with all relevant insurance companies
- Identifying every possible defendant in the case
- Keeping you updated on your case’s progress each step of the way
- Giving the advice you need to make decisions about settlement offers and other important matters related to your case
- Negotiating a settlement that covers all your past, present, and future expenses
If you were seriously injured in a Florida car accident, our attorneys have the talent, resources, and tools necessary to demonstrate why you deserve maximum compensation for your losses.
Call 1-800-LAW-3030 or contact us to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.