As a personal injury and car accident lawyer in Venice, Florida, I am often asked about the time limits within which a claim may be brought for injuries suffered in an automobile collision. It is important to understand that there are always exceptions, and it is imperative that you speak with an experienced attorney who concentrates in handling car accident cases as soon as possible after an accident in order to learn your specific rights and responsibilities. Depending on where the crash occurred and who was involved, different laws may apply. For instance, a car accident caused by a state or federal employee will be governed by different time limits than a crash that is caused by a private citizen.
Generally, under Florida law, if you are injured in an auto, truck or motorcycle accident, as a pedestrian, or as the result of negligence, you typically have four years to resolve your claim or file a lawsuit. Filing a lawsuit prior to the expiration of the “statute of limitations” preserves your right to settle the claim after the four years has passed. If, however, you cannot obtain a settlement within that initial four year time period and fail to file a lawsuit prior to the four year anniversary of the car accident, then your claim will be considered as forever barred by the “statute of limitations.” As previously mentioned, exceptions sometimes apply and operate to lessen the time one has to resolve a car accident claim. For instance, if you are injured by a state government employee, you must take certain actions to notify and provide official notice of the claim to the responsible agency and State of Florida much sooner than the general four year statute of limitations period.
Occasionally, the law provides for a little more time. For instance, if you are bringing a claim against your own insurance company based on the insurance policy that you contracted for and purchased, you are entitled to an extra year. If you must bring a claim under your own “uninsured or underinsured motorist policy,” you generally have five years from the date of the car accident to do so.
Every Case is unique. In order to determine the specific time limits that apply to your own potential claim, it is important that you consult with an experienced local lawyer who handles car accident cases and discuss all of the facts.
If you have been involved in an automobile, motorcycle or trucking accident, have questions concerning your insurance coverage or want to know what to do after a car accident, please feel free to call me, James Keim, Attorney at Law, for a free, confidential consultation at (941) 485-7600. As a Venice car accident lawyer, I can assist you as you seek to get your bills paid and lost wages recovered. All cases are handled on a contingency fee basis; you pay no fees or costs unless I am successful in making a recovery on your behalf. Attorney fees and costs are simply deducted from the recovery that is made at the end of the case.