Under Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a), you generally must file a personal injury lawsuit within four years of an accident. If your family member died from the injuries they sustained in an accident, Florida Statutes § 95.11(4)(d) gives you only two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
If you got hurt or lost a loved one in an accident like a car crash or a slip and fall, you must file your lawsuit within these deadlines, or you may lose the right to get compensation from the at-fault party.
Why Florida’s Statute Of Limitations For Personal Injury Cases Matters
You might be trying to negotiate a settlement on your accident claim by yourself, without a lawyer on your side. You thought the claims adjuster was negotiating with you in good faith; however, without warning, they stopped responding to your phone calls and emails.
You called the main number for their department, but the receptionist just took a message from you. Still, you never heard back. One day, you may get a letter saying that neither the insurance company nor the at-fault party they insure has any liability toward you because the statute of limitations for your claim has expired.
Negotiating with the insurance company or filing a claim with them does not count as filing a lawsuit for purposes of the statute of limitations. The only thing that will satisfy the deadline is to file a lawsuit with the appropriate court. Most non-lawyers do not know about statutes of limitations. This is one of many reasons you should consider working with a personal injury attorney on your claim.
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Misconceptions About The Filing Deadline And Litigation
Some people assume they can ignore the statute of limitations because they do not want to file a lawsuit. They do not want the stress or expense of litigation or the possibility of going to court. They just want to file a claim and get a settlement check from the insurance company.
The problem with this approach is that, after the filing deadline passes, the insurance company no longer has motivation to settle your claim fairly. Neither they nor their insured party has any legal responsibility toward you after the statute of limitations expires.
They are not likely to give you a fair settlement for your claim if you cannot file a lawsuit against them. Even the possibility of a lawsuit is a powerful bargaining chip you don’t want to lose. If the deadline passes, you are much less likely to get fair compensation.
Contingency Fees And Car Accident Claims
Another misconception is that working with a lawyer and filing a lawsuit is expensive. You might have gone through a divorce and had to pay thousands of dollars in legal fees during the case. However, personal injury claims and lawsuits do not work that way. We use contingency fees on most personal injury cases.
With a contingency fee arrangement, you do not pay any upfront legal fees. Instead, the lawyer works on your case without any payment until the end of the matter. When the case settles or you get a jury verdict, your attorney gets a percentage of those proceeds. If you do not win, your lawyer does not get paid any legal fees.
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What Your Personal Injury Claim Might Include
Let’s say you got hurt in a car accident that was not your fault. You decide to file an injury claim and negotiate for a settlement, but you are prepared to file a lawsuit if necessary to protect your right to compensation.
Some of the common categories of money damages that you may seek in an injury claim include:
- Medical expenses for the treatment of your wounds. This category can include bills from the ambulance, emergency room or trauma center, hospital, doctors, surgeons, diagnostic procedures, imaging studies like x-rays and CT scans, blood transfusions, physical therapy, and prescription drugs.
- Lost wages for the income you did not receive when you could not work because of your injuries.
- Pain and suffering damages to account for the physical discomfort and emotional distress of the accident, your injuries, and the impact those things have had on your life.
- Other intangible losses, like chronic depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and disfigurement due to the accident and your injuries.
The legal beneficiaries under Florida law might be able to pursue additional compensation for the losses they experienced if a close relative died because of an accident.
Get A Free Consultation With The Law Offices Of Anidjar & Levine
You do not have unlimited time to take legal action after getting hurt in an accident that was someone else’s fault. If you wait too long, Florida law will prevent you from holding the negligent party accountable for your injuries and losses. It is a good idea to talk to a lawyer long before the filing deadline’s expiration.
Contact us at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine today for a free consultation with no obligation.
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