If you or a loved one was involved in a car accident, you have a limited amount of time to file an injury or damages claim to recover financial compensation. Each state has its own laws which grant accident victims a certain period of time in which a claim must be filed. Although most personal injury cases in Florida allow for victims to file suit within four years from the date of the accident, there are some instances when you may need to submit your claim sooner.
It is a good idea to speak with a licensed lawyer to verify the correct due date for your claim. You can schedule a complimentary initial consultation to find out if your claim is valid and when it must be submitted with the skilled attorneys at Frankl & Kominsky. If you or someone you love is in need of a reputable car accident lawyer, give us a call today at (954) 866-9160. Our licensed attorneys have handled cases throughout Florida, including the Fort Lauderdale area.
If you are unsure about the due date for your car crash claim, it is recommended to contact an attorney as soon as possible. If you wait until it is too late, you run the risk of having your case dismissed by the court and disqualified from filing a lawsuit to pursue compensation for your injuries and other losses.
What Does the Law Say?
When an auto accident occurs, it is usually the result of negligence. Sometimes drivers may be distracted while driving, driving too fast, driving while drowsy, and/or under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Although Florida law has strict penalties for negligent drivers, this does not mean victims of negligence have an unlimited amount of time to file a claim against the at-fault party.
Florida Statute 95.11 states that victims of negligence must file injury and/or property damage claims within four years from the date the accident occurred and within two years in cases involving wrongful death. If your due date has passed, you may be barred from filing a lawsuit.
While there may be certain situations which may allow you to file your claim beyond the four year period, there may also be certain details about your case which may require you to file within two or three years instead. This is why it is critical to speak to an experienced attorney as soon as possible. The earlier you seek legal representation, the more time your attorney will have to review your case and ensure that your case is filed within the statute of limitations.
Different Types of Car Crash Lawsuits
Florida has multiple statutes of limitations for different types of auto accident claims. Depending on the details of your case, you may need to file a certain type of lawsuit:
- Personal injury lawsuit – If you or a loved one was injured in the accident, you will most likely have up to four years from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit. You could recover compensation based on past, present and future medical costs, lost wages from missing work, pain and suffering and property damage.
- Wrongful death lawsuit – If a fatality is caused by injuries sustained in a car crash, the surviving family members have up to two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Family members could be compensated for funeral and burial costs, loss of future income, and loss of consortium.
- Product liability lawsuit – Sometimes collisions can be caused by a malfunctioning vehicle or auto part. Faulty brakes, defective tires, and poor auto part designs are all common triggers for car accidents. When this is the case, you may seek compensation from the manufacturer. If the accident results in injuries, you have up to four years to file a lawsuit, except in cases involving death which are required to be filed within two years.
Are There Any Exceptions?
If you believe the deadline has passed for your lawsuit to be filed on time, there are a few exceptions to Florida’s statute of limitations:
- The discovery rule – Although it is uncommon in car accident cases, if the injured party does not realize the injury until a later date, the statute of limitations may be extended in what is known as the discovery rule.
- Catastrophic injuries – In cases involving catastrophic injury, where the injured party is physically or mentally unable to file a lawsuit, he or she may have up to seven years to file a lawsuit.
- The defendant is unavailable – Since filing a civil suit requires the paperwork to be handed to the defendant in person, sometimes it may be difficult to do so. If the defendant has gone in hiding, left the state, or is missing for some other reason, the clock on the statute of limitations is halted.
- False representation – If it is found that the defendant is using a false identity to avoid the lawsuit, the time period may be extended until the defendant is found.
Consult With a Licensed Lawyer Before It is Too Late
Whether you or someone you love was injured in a car crash, it is important not to wait too long to take legal action. You may have the right to recover from negligent parties that are accountable for damages and financial losses. However, you only have a limited amount of time to exercise this right.
If you need legal advice about your car crash claim in the Fort Lauderdale area (by appointment only), sign up for a cost-free consultation with one of our dedicated lawyers today. At Frankl & Kominsky, we never settle for less when it comes to fighting for the rights of our clients. Our attorneys have helped our clients recover a combination of over $100 million in compensation for their injuries in successful verdicts and settlements throughout the state of Florida.
We offer free, no-obligation initial consultations to discuss the details of your case. Your information is always kept private and completely confidential, so there is no risk in giving us a call today.
Do not wait until it is too late to pursue the compensation you may deserve for your injuries.
Call Frankl & Kominsky anytime 24/7 or chat with one of our online representatives.