Being in a car accident can leave you reeling. Between injuries, vehicle damage, lost income, and mounting bills, you already have enough on your plate without having to worry about legal deadlines. But in Florida, there are strict time limits dictating when you can sue after an auto collision.
This legal deadline is known as the statute of limitations, and if missed, it forfeits your right to compensation. To prevent missing it, it’s advised that you get in touch with an experienced car accident lawyer in Florida who can file on your behalf quickly. Winston Law Firm has helped numerous clients successfully file and can walk you through the steps so that you understand its terms.
What Is the Timeline to File a Lawsuit After a Florida Car Accident?
Florida law imposes a two year statute of limitations for filing personal injury lawsuits related to car accidents. This means that accident victims have two years from the actual date of their crash to file a legal claim seeking compensation for any injuries, damages, or losses incurred.
This two-year deadline was changed at the beginning of 2023, down from the previous deadline of four years.
Are There Any Time Exceptions for Suing After a Car Accident in Florida?
The average person has four years following their car wreck to sue in Florida; however, there are some potential exceptions that can extend the statute of limitations. Those exceptions include:
- Minors: For injured victims under 18, the statute of limitations does not begin until they reach age 18. They then have up to four years after their 18th birthday to sue.
- Mental incompetence: If an injured victim is deemed mentally incompetent, the statute of limitations can be extended up to five years from the restoration of competency or the appointment of a guardian.
- Death: If an accident victim dies from their injuries, family members may have up to two years from the time of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Discovery rule: In rare cases, the timeline may not begin until the injury is discovered. However, this is hard to prove and applies primarily to medical malpractice cases in Florida.
- Fraud: If the at-fault party deliberately conceals their fault, the court may postpone the deadline to file suit.
- Bankruptcy: Declaring bankruptcy can put statutes of limitation on hold in some cases.
The deadline exceptions are complex, so consulting a personal injury attorney is key. But it is possible to file outside the four-year window if certain conditions are met. An attorney can advise if exceptions apply.
What If My Florida Car Accident Involves a Government Entity?
Florida law imposes additional requirements when suing a government agency or entity after a car accident. Key points include:
- Notice of claim: Before filing suit, you must file a formal “notice of claim” with the entity outlining your damages. This starts a statutory waiting period before you can sue.
- Shorter deadline: The statute of limitations to file suit is often shorter—for example, just 3 years for Florida county or city governments.
- Damage caps: There may be limits or caps on the total damages that can be sought against government entities.
- Proof of duty: More evidence must be provided showing the government body owed and breached a duty of care that led to damages. An experienced attorney can help establish this.
- Complicated rules: Numerous procedural complexities apply when suing government agencies. Consulting a lawyer is crucial to avoiding dismissal.
While daunting, successfully suing government entities for car accident injuries is possible with the right legal representation. A Florida personal injury attorney can navigate the requirements and make sure that procedural errors don’t jeopardize your claim. Don’t let shorter deadlines bar you from deserved compensation.
Will Hiring an Attorney Help When Suing After a Car Accident in Florida?
Hiring an attorney can help with meeting filing deadlines when suing after a Florida car accident. It is advised to contact a Florida car collision attorney immediately to have the most advantage in securing your rights in the following ways:
- Handles claim filing procedures
- Assesses case-specific deadlines
- Monitors lawsuit filing clocks
- Asserts deadline extensions
- Handles negotiations pre-suit
- Starts lawsuit process early if needed
- Allows you to focus on recovery
Your attorney’s main responsibility is to preserve your right to sue and avoid missing critical filing deadlines. Don’t leave your claim in limbo. For more information on how Florida’s timeline to file a suit works, get in touch with a knowledgeable lawyer so you can make informed decisions and achieve justice.