If you have been injured by another vehicle and decide to seek compensation from the at-fault driver, knowing how long you have to file a personal injury claim is a useful tool. Every state varies in their laws concerning how long you have to sue someone for a car accident. This is known as the statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations sets a maximum amount of time for parties involved in a crash, or another incident, to initiate legal proceedings. In Florida, individuals have four years to file a lawsuit concerning a car accident.
When Should You Sue For A Car Accident?
If you are involved in a crash of which you are not at fault, you may be wondering if you should sue. It is often for one or both parties to leave these events sore and bruised. Yet serious injuries resulting from collision have the potential to lead to a whole mess of problems.
For example, an injury from an accident may require surgery and, depending on the severity, impact your quality of life long-term. In this case or similar cases, you have a right to be compensated for the damages caused. This would be the time to hire a personal injury attorney and file a lawsuit.
Reasons to sue for a car accident include:
- you have obtained serious injuries due to the other driver’s negligence
- a car accident resulted in the wrongful death of a loved one
- since the accident, you have not been able to perform everyday tasks or hobbies
- the accident has impacted your quality of life
Factors That Affect How Long You Have To Sue After A Car Accident
Certain factors can affect how long you have to file a lawsuit after a motor vehicle accident. These can include the state’s statute of limitations, the type of accident claim being filed, and if the crash resulted in wrongful death.
Statutes Of Limitations
Florida’s statute of limitations limits an individual’s time for filing a claim concerning a car accident to four years. Understanding your state’s laws of the time limit for filing is important. Once the statute “runs out” your claim will no longer be valid.
The Type Of Accident Claim
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Claim—PIP auto insurance coverage pays for your medical bills related to the auto accident. It is important to know what is covered under your Personal Injury Protection auto insurance.
Bodily Injury Claim—bodily injury claims provide compensation for your damages related to the accident.
In the case of wrongful death, a lawsuit must be filed within two years, according to Florida’s statute of limitations. Florida law requires the estate, or personal representative, of the deceased person to file the wrongful death claim.
Arguments can arise between family members over who will file the car accident lawsuit. In this case, or if there is no will or estate, the personal representative will be appointed by the court.
If two or more claims are filed, the court will likely combine all of the claims into a single lawsuit.
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Filing An Injury Lawsuit VS. Going Through Your Insurance Company
If you are in a car accident, the first thing you want to do is file a police report. This is important because injuries may arise a day or so later and a report will provide details if you need to file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
If injuries are or become apparent, this is a good time to reach out to a personal injury lawyer. They can help you with the process of receiving compensation for any possible pain and suffering caused by the incident.
Filing an insurance claim is the first step to receiving compensation for injuries obtained in the auto accident. When a claim is received by an insurance company they will assign an insurance adjuster to further examine the incident. The adjuster will look for proof of their client’s negligence and attempt to negotiate a settlement with you, the claimant. If a settlement offer cannot be reached, a car accident lawsuit may need to be filed.
In the event that an injury case is filed, the case will then go to trial. If the other party can prove that you share some part of the blame for the injuries sustained, then any personal injury compensation awarded may be reduced.
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What To Do After A Car Accident
Motor vehicle accidents are unexpected and knowing what to do in the moments after is of the utmost importance.
Shock and fear are common emotions when you are in an accident. Collisions are never expected and can leave you in a panic. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths to get your bearings.
Check Everyone For Injuries
Check yourself, your passengers, and the persons in the other vehicle for injuries.
Call The Police
If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately. Although emergency services will likely send the police to the scene of the accident, call your local police station.
File A Police Report
When the police arrive, tell them, to the best of your ability, what happened. This verifies the time and place of the accident as well as other details that may be important later.
Take Photos Or Video
If possible, take photos of the scene of the accident, including all motor vehicles involved and any bruising or bodily harm.
Exchange Information With The Involved Party
After an accident, it is important to collect the following information:
- driver’s license and plate numbers
- full name and contact information of everyone involved
- type, model, and color of the cars involved in the accident
Consider Hiring A Car Accident Attorney
What comes with car accident injuries are medical bills, emotional and physical distress, and disruption to your daily routine.
Car accident attorneys can help protect your rights by doing everything they can to get you fully compensated for the pain and suffering caused by another driver’s negligence.
How Long Should You Wait Before Filing Your Claim?
When considering filing a car accident case after a car crash, a good rule of thumb to follow is, “sooner rather than later.” The closer the incident is to the time of the claim being filed, the better chance you have at proving your injuries and the pain and suffering the car accident has caused.
There is no guarantee of a quick settlement or lawsuit with an insurance company, and if your claim is filed only a year or few months before your state’s statute of limitations runs out, you might find yourself unable to be refunded for the injuries sustained in the accident.
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Car accidents can cause strain in your life, including mounting medical expenses, inability to work, or pain and suffering that affects your daily living. Having the support of an experienced legal team can help bring clarity and peace of mind to a traumatic event.
Car accident attorneys understand the effects of a harmful collision and can give you the guidance needed to ensure a fair settlement offer for your injuries.
If you or someone you care about has been injured in an accident, please contact Florin|Roebig law firm for a free case evaluation today.