A statute of limitations defines a specific timeframe and expiration on your right to file a lawsuit regarding a car accident you have been in. If you file your case outside of the time range or after the deadline has passed, the state has the right to dismiss your case.
Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a) establishes that the state’s statute of limitations is four years starting on the date of your accident and any subsequent injury for which you can file a lawsuit. If you miss this four-year window, you could lose your right to sue for compensation.
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Exceptions to Florida’s Statute of Limitations
While four years seems like a significant amount of time, it is important to act immediately after your accident to move your case forward. Having an attorney to help you with the legal aspects of your case will allow you to focus on healing from your accident, and ensure that all the deadlines for filing are met.
The four-year statute of limitations pertains to claims against private individuals and entities.
However, Florida law provides some exceptions. If any of the following exceptions apply to your particular case, the time limit to file might be different.
- Federal or Government Agencies – For claims made involving public entities, the statute is reduced to a three-year timeframe.
- Fatalities – Family members have only two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit if they lost a loved one in a car accident.
- Minors – Limited extensions are sometimes given if a minor is involved in a car accident.
- Mentally incompetent persons – The state may offer an extension to someone who is deemed mentally incompetent, but will not extend indefinitely.
- Discovery rule – If a person does not become aware of or is not diagnosed with an injury until a later date, the statute of limitations may be extended under what is known as the discovery rule.
- Catastrophic injuries – If an injured person is unable, due to either mental or physical injuries, to file a lawsuit on their own behalf, an extension of seven years may be given to file a lawsuit.
Different Types of Car Accident Claims in Florida
The state of Florida has established precedents including several statutes of limitations for a variety of auto accident claims. Each type of accident claim may affect your case. There are particular nuances to each type of lawsuit and case law. Your attorney can explain these to you.
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If in a car accident you are injured in any way, you could recover compensation based on medical bills that you incurred, both immediately post accident as well as future anticipated bills due to long-term injury needs. You can also sue for lost employment and/or lost wages, for pain, mental anguish and for the property damage and costs associated to the accident itself.
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If a fatality or wrongful death results from the accident or is caused by injuries sustained in it, you can pursue damages for things associated with the loss of that individual. This can include the costs of the funeral, loss of income from your family member would have provided had they survived, and various other non-economic damages.
Product Liability Lawsuit
On occasion, vehicle or auto parts that are faulty or otherwise malfunction can cause accidents. Manufacturers have a responsibility to design and produce safe vehicles and vehicle parts, so you may be able to pursue compensation if a faulty part on a vehicle caused your accident.
What If the Statute of Limitations Deadline Passes?
If you try to file a personal injury lawsuit past the deadline, the defense can move to dismiss your case. The court will also deny it, and you would be prohibited from filing any other lawsuit related to that particular case in the future, regardless of how strong your claims are or who caused the accident.
Consulting and hiring a personal injury attorney soon after an accident can go a long way in ensuring you don’t miss the statute’s filing deadline and miss out on valuable compensation and recovery of damages. An attorney with experience in Florida case law can make sure you have enough time to file and properly assert your rights.
How the Law office of Anidjar and Levine Can be of Help to You
The lawyers at The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine are ready to manage all the legal aspects of your case so you can focus on healing and returning to a sense of normalcy.
Contact our law firm at 888 494-0430 for a complimentary, no-obligation evaluation of your automobile accident and how the statute of limitations can affect your case.
We serve Central and Southern Florida and its surrounding areas.