A statute of limitations is a time limit in which you must file your lawsuit. If you don’t file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations, you lose your right to file the lawsuit. For many car accident victims, a lawsuit isn’t always the first task that comes to mind. While seeking proper medical care is always the top priority, it’s also important to know that you do have to keep the statute of limitations in mind.
How Long Do I Have to File Car Accident Lawsuit in Florida?
For a Florida car accident, there are two statutes of limitations that control when you need to file your lawsuit. The first is for a car accident lawsuit against another person’s insurance policy. When you are injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another driver, your claim and your lawsuit will be against the at-fault driver’s insurance. The statute of limitations to bring a lawsuit against another person for negligently causing an accident is 4 years.
Sometimes, the person that caused your accident does not have bodily injury liability car insurance, the type of insurance needed if you are going to file a lawsuit for your injuries. Or, the person that caused your accident may have some insurance but not enough to pay you for all your damages and injuries. These types of persons are referred to as an uninsured motorist, or an underinsured motorist (UM/UIM). In order to make a claim or a lawsuit against an uninsured motorist or an underinsured motorist, you will need to have UM/UIM insurance coverage on your own car insurance policy. If you have UM/UIM insurance coverage, Florida Statute 95.11 allows five years for you to bring a breach of contract lawsuit against your own insurance company through your UM/UIM insurance coverage.
Should you wait four or five years to bring your lawsuit?
It may seems like a silly question to some, but when your accident involves serious injuries requiring significant medical care, 4 or 5 years can go by quickly. Should you wait to file your lawsuit?
For most car accident claims, you should pursue your claim as soon as you finish with your medical care. You want to wait until you finish your medical care because you want to present all of your damages, medical records and medical bills at the time of your settlement demand or your trial. If you move forward with a settlement demand or trial prior to finishing your medical care, an insurance company or a jury will have a difficult time assessing the true value of your car accident lawsuit in Florida.
You may also need witnesses to your accident in order to prove your claim. People disappear and memories fade over time. Doctors retire. If you wait a few years to file your Florida car accident lawsuit, you may no longer have the witnesses to support your claim. Unless you have suffered catastrophic injuries, you should file your claim as soon as you finish your medical care.
For more significant injuries, sometimes you have no choice but to wait to file your lawsuit. Injuries that involve traumatic brain injuries, paralysis or debilitating injuries often take time to heal to whatever extent they are going to heal. You will obviously want to file your lawsuit within the Florida statutes of limitations, but you will need an accurate assessment of your injuries, and what your future medical care will be, in order to recover the full value of your car accident lawsuit.
The Right Accident Attorney Will Be Available to Help You
With additional considerations such as a desire to preserve evidence coming in to play, the sooner you can act on your potential lawsuit, the better. Remember, that a first consultation is free with many attorneys and some law firms will also send an attorney to meet with you at your home or hospital room. At the Maus Law Firm, we try our best to accommodate our clients so contact us as soon as you are able to do so, and let us help you.