The Statute of Limitations on Car Accident Injuries in Florida

After a car accident, it is important to take the time you need to recover from your injuries and explore your options for what to do next.  It is important to take the time to consider how you will pay for your medical expenses and how you will continue to support yourself and your family if you are too injured to work.  However, you may not have as much time as you need.  In the middle of recovery and rehabilitation, the last thing you may want to do is go to court, but it is important to file car accident injury cases on time in Florida to ensure that you can have your claim heard in court and get the compensation you need.  Miami car accident lawyer Prosper Shaked discusses the statute of limitations on car accident injury cases in Florida, and the time limits are attached to your case.  For a free consultation on your injury case, contact The Law Offices of Prosper Shaked today.

What is the Time Limit on Filing a Car Accident Claim in FL?

All court cases are subject to the time limits contained in rules called “statutes of limitations.”  Every type of case, both criminal and civil, has a time limit for filing the case.  Any cases filed after this deadline can be barred from court, so it is important to get your claim in on time.

Under Florida law, any injury case stemming from someone else’s negligence must be filed within 4 years of the injury.  Car accident cases, in most instances, fall under this type of “negligence” case.  Rather than claiming that you were intentionally harmed by another driver’s actions, most car accident claims are based on the fact that the other driver violated traffic rules or drove without the proper care or skill when they injured you, which is the foundation of any negligence claim.

Filing your car accident case is enough to satisfy the statute of limitations.  This means that you don’t need to file your case, collect evidence, and go to trial within 4 years.  Instead, you simply need to get the case filed with the appropriate court before 4 years is up.

Even though 4 years seems like a long time, it is important to act early and file your case with time to spare.  If you wait until the last minute to talk to an attorney and file your case, you may miss additional claims.  Sometimes, your attorney can help you find additional parties or additional claims you can file as part of your injury case.  If your case is filed too late, you may only have time to get the claim against the driver filed.  If you later realize that the driver was a commercial delivery driver or a commercial truck driver, you could also have several claims against their employer – the shipping or delivery company.  If you filed your case too late, the 4-year time limit might have run on those additional claims, and you won’t be able to bring the additional parties and claims into your lawsuit.

What Happens if I File My Car Accident Case Too Late?

Filing your case in court too late often removes your ability to recover for your case.  When your lawsuit gets to a court after the statute of limitations already expired, both the court and the defendant have the right to get the case dropped.  The defendant (the at-fault driver) can use the statute of limitations to say that the suit is not authorized because it was filed too late and to file a request that the court dismiss all claims.  Similarly, the judge is allowed to raise this issue on its own by pointing to their duty to avoid wasting the court’s time and resources on expired claims.

If you miss your chance to file in court, you often cannot go back and file with insurance, either.  If the insurance company has no threat of a lawsuit behind your insurance claim, they may not feel any pressure to give you a satisfactory settlement that covers your needs.  In fact, the insurance policy may have its own time limits, and filing that claim too late could also block your chance for relief.

In some cases, you may be entitled to a filing extension.  If a court had declared you mentally incompetent before the accident, e.g. if you suffer from a severe mental illness, you may be entitled to an extension of up to 3 years (7 years, total, from the date of the accident).  In addition, if the at-fault party leaves the state or hides so they cannot be served with court papers, the clock might be paused during their absence or time spent in hiding.  Talk to an attorney about whether these rare circumstances might extend your filing deadline by “tolling” the statute of limitations.

Miami Car Accident Lawyer Offering Free Consultations

If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident in Hialeah, Aventura, or anywhere in the Miami area, talk to our attorney today.  Miami personal injury lawyer Prosper Shaked represents the victims of serious car accident injuries and helps them fight to have their injuries compensated.  For a free consultation on your car accident claim, call The Law Offices of Prosper Shaked today at (305) 690-0244.

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