I often receive phone calls from injured people wanting to file claims against an at-fault driver, from auto accidents that happened years ago. It is a difficult thing to have to tell these callers that too much time has passed since their auto accident, and that their case is barred by Florida’s Statute of Limitations. Don’t let this happen to you.
The “statute of limitations” are laws which place a time limit on pursuing legal cases. These statutes, which apply to both civil and criminal actions, are designed to prevent fraudulent and stale claims from arising after all evidence has been lost or after the facts have become obscure through the passage of time.
The thought is that an injured person with a good case would pursue it with reasonable diligence. After the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations period, the case is barred and the injured person has lost the right to recover for their injuries. The statute of limitations are enacted by the state legislatures.
Each state’s statute of limitations period varies, so it’s crucial to know what the statute of limitations is in your state. If you are looking to file a Florida injury lawsuit, here’s what you need to know.
Florida’s Statute of Limitations
The general rule regarding the Florida Statute of Limitations for an injury due to negligence is 4 years from the date of the accident. This means your lawsuit must be filed in the correct jurisdiction within 4 years of the accident, or else your case may be forever barred. You can find Florida Statute § 95.11 here.
Considering there’s nearly 16 million drivers in Florida, it is very possible that you could end up filing a claim after an auto accident one day. According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ Traffic Crash Annual Report, Florida experienced 281,340 crashes in 2012; averaging about 770 crashes a day. Of those crashes, 2,430 were fatalities and 198,032 were injuries. Although 4 years is the statute of limitations in Florida, it can vary depending on the type of personal injury you are claiming.
What Amount of a Settlement Can You Expect?
Once a claim has been filed and a settlement has been reached, you have a right to be indemnified completely, meaning that the at-fault party should set things right financially as if the accident never happened. We courts say “to make whole again.” There are certain things that the at-fault person should pay for, some of which are as follows:
- Pay to repair your vehicle or any personal belongings that were damaged or lost as a result of the accident;
- The diminished value of your vehicle;
- Pay your medical bills, not covered by health insurance;
- Pay for any future medical expenses:
- Pay your lost wages, and any loss of future earning capacity;
- Pay for your pain and suffering;
- If married, pay your spouse’s loss of consortium.
When it comes to your personal injury case, the best time to file a claim is right after the accident has taken place. Remember that one of the rationales behind that statute of limitation is that if you do have a good case, then you would pursue it with reasonable diligence. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to prove your case.
Questions About Your Personal Injury Case?
To help you figure out exactly how much time you have, call my office at 813-915-1110 or send me an email. I’d be happy to answer your statute of limitations question. Hancock Injury Attorneys is available to assist you 24/7.