Although the deadline for taking legal action in Fort Lauderdale mainly depends on the facts of your case, Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a) generally gives you four years from the date of your truck accident to file a personal injury suit. According to the statute, the same time limit applies if you want to sue for your vehicle’s damage or loss.
However, if you lost your family member in the accident and wish to bring a wrongful death lawsuit, the statute of limitations is two years, according to Florida Statutes § 95.11(4)(d). Filing a claim against a government entity also has a shorter deadline, leaving you with only three years to act. You may want to consider contacting a personal injury lawyer to learn more about circumstances that could influence how long you have to file a lawsuit after a truck wreck in Florida.
Consequences of Missing the Deadline to File a Lawsuit in Florida
Not knowing how long you have to file a lawsuit after a truck collision can put you at a disadvantage if you plan to sue. If you miss the deadline that applies to your case, you likely will not be able to take legal action for your accident. Instead:
- The court may not allow you to file.
- The liable party may contest your filing and request that the court dismiss your case.
In either case, you will miss out on recovering compensation for your damages, no matter how compelling your case is.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations for Truck Accidents
While the statute of limitations broadly sets the deadline for filing your lawsuit, the court may extend or toll the legal deadline for special cases. Florida Statutes § 95.051 outlines particular situations where exceptions apply.
The time limit may be tolled or suspended if:
- The defendant has left the state.
- The defendant has hidden their identity or used a false name.
- The plaintiff is mentally incapacitated or a minor at the time of the accident.
- The defendant cannot be legally served because they are concealed in the state.
Keep in mind that circumstances not included in the statute may not justify the use of tolling provisions. However, you may have additional time to file your lawsuit if you did not or could not have discovered your injuries until some period later. Otherwise known as the discovery rule, this gives plaintiffs sufficient time to find out about delayed injuries.
Despite knowing about the previous information, determining whether an exception applies to you can be tricky. You could talk to a local personal injury attorney to learn more about tolling limitations.
How Filing a Truck Accident Claim is Different From Filing a Lawsuit
As soon as you file your injury claim against the at-fault party, you begin the process of seeking damages. Nevertheless, it is not the same as filing an actual lawsuit. In other words, the clock continues ticking down until you have initiated legal action. Those who are not aware of the statute of limitations for filing an injury suit will find they cannot obtain compensation beyond the deadline.
In Fort Lauderdale and throughout Florida, your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage is the primary means through which you can seek to recover your injuries and losses. If your damages exceed your policy’s limits, you may proceed with litigation for additional compensation.
Keep in mind that the statute of limitations has already started running as you are busy handling your insurance claim. Therefore, you must leave yourself enough time to gather evidence and prepare your case against the other party before the legal deadline, should you need to file a lawsuit later.
When You Must File an Accident Report
Per Florida Statutes § 316.066, you must file an accident report within 10 days when injuries, fatalities, or significant vehicle damage occurs. This window also applies to any collisions involving commercial vehicles.
If police officers came to the scene, they will create and file this report for you. Otherwise, you need to self-report the collision to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) within this timeframe. This document can provide critical evidence in your case.
How Long do You Have to Seek Medical Attention After the Truck Collision?
Florida insurance laws also require you to seek medical care as soon as possible after an accident to receive coverage. As outlined in Florida Statutes § 627.736, you have 14 days to see a doctor about your injuries.
Beyond this deadline, it’s critical to receive medical attention right away to rule out or address any severe injuries. The resulting medical records also provide evidence of your injuries, their severity, and the necessary treatment for them, which can further support your case.
How Long do You Have to Report a Truck Accident to Your Insurance Company?
Your insurer may also have a set timeline for reporting your collision and filing a PIP claim. You will want to review your insurance policy to identify these deadlines so you don’t miss the opportunity to file. Our truck accident team can offer critical guidance throughout this process.
A Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help You Stay on Top of the Filing Deadline
It can be challenging to keep track of all the deadlines in a truck accident case. That’s one reason many victims turn to personal injury law firms for support. Our truck accident attorneys provide multiple services in these cases, including filing claims and lawsuits on time. When you hire us soon after the collision, we can also:
- Request the accident report from law enforcement
- Compile your medical records to support your right to damages
- Prepare your case to move through the claims process
- Identify your deadline to sue the liable party
When given enough time, our lawyers will ensure you do not give up your financial recovery due to an expired deadline.
Start as Soon As Possible on Your Truck Accident Case
If you are wondering how long you have to file a lawsuit after a truck accident, a Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer from the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine can answer this question and more.
Be sure to protect your rights to seek compensation from negligent parties. Contact us today by calling 1-800-747-3733 and scheduling a free consultation.
We Can Help.