How Long After A Car Crash Can I File A Lawsuit?
Because Florida is a no-fault auto liability state, motorists who are involved in collisions usually file claims with their own insurers before they take the step of filing a lawsuit. To file an insurance claim a policyholder must, however, take certain steps, including obtaining medical attention within 14 days of the crash. It is only when these policies are insufficient to cover the injuries, or when the injuries are particularly severe, that a motorist can file a lawsuit against an at-fault driver in court. This too is only an option for a certain amount of time, so when motorists fail to file by this deadline, they can expect their claim to be dismissed by the court. To learn more about the 14 day rule or Florida’s statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit, please reach out to our experienced Fort Lauderdale auto accident lawyers today.
The Claims Period
Most car accident cases are resolved in what is known as the claims period, during which an adjuster will evaluate a motorist’s injuries and property damage before attempting to resolve the claim without going to court. The expiration of the claims period will vary depending on the wording of an individual’s policy, making it especially important for those who are injured in car accidents in Florida, to speak with an attorney as soon as possible after their crash.
The Statute of Limitations
Under Florida law, individuals only have a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit in court. Further, this deadline will change depending on the type of case in question. Most car accident cases, however, are governed by a four year statute of limitations, which means that any lawsuit will need to be filed within four years of the accident. Filing even one day late will almost always result in the case being dismissed by the court. This in turn, could leave a car accident victim with no possibility of recovering compensation outside of any PIP claims.
Extending the Statute of Limitations
The four year statute of limitations is a strict deadline in Florida when it comes to filing a lawsuit. There are, however, a few important exceptions to this rule, in which case, a court may extend the limitations period. This is known as “tolling” the statute of limitations and can occur when:
- The defendant cannot be found;
- The plaintiff’s injury was not immediately apparent;
- The plaintiff was a minor at the time of the accident;
- The plaintiff suffered a catastrophic injury; or
- The plaintiff is mentally incompetent.
To learn more about the statute of limitations in Florida and how and when these exceptions apply, please reach out to our office today.
Call Today to Set Up a Free Consultation
Many Florida car accident victims are unaware of the deadlines with which they must comply, including the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit. To make sure that you don’t miss one of these important filing deadlines in your own case, please call 954-566-9919 and speak with one of the dedicated car accident lawyers at Boone & Davis today.