How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Claim?

Sustaining injuries at the hands of someone else because of neglect or carelessness is a frustrating experience. Factor in the potential financial strain of the situation, and the stress can weigh you down heavily. Making a personal injury claim can offer the financial compensation you deserve and the means to move on with your life. However, you should know that it’s best to start discussions with a Florida injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident to protect your right to file a claim. 

Each state has a statute of limitations that dictates how long after an accident you are able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party for your injuries. Florida Statutes Annotated section 95.11(3) states that victims of personal injury have four years after the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. If you don’t act until after this time frame has passed, your claim will most likely be denied, and you’ll be left to pay your medical and other bills out of pocket.

The best way to protect your right to file a personal injury claim is to get in contact with a South Florida personal injury lawyer immediately following an accident. A qualified attorney will be able to protect your best interests and ensure you don’t say something that could hurt your claim while speaking with the insurance company or with the other party involved. 

What Is a Statute of Limitations?

Before we get too deep into explaining the statute of limitations on different types of personal injury claims, let’s talk through what a statute of limitations really is and what it’s meant to do. To put it simply, a statute of limitations sets the time frame following an accident in which either party can file a lawsuit. 

The intended purpose of a statute of limitations is to ensure that details, documents, witnesses, and other evidence relevant to the case are still accessible and usable during legal proceedings. When long periods pass between an accident and legal proceedings, it becomes more difficult for either party to present their case due to evidence going cold.

Just think about the difference between describing what you had for breakfast yesterday and trying to recall whether you even had breakfast on a certain day months ago—memories fade, and evidence becomes less substantive when too much time has passed. Ultimately, the statute of limitations is in place to protect you and the legal system from dealing with cases in which there is little to no relevant evidence. 

There are many different types of personal injury incidents, including auto accidents and slip and fall accidents. Here’s a look at the statute of limitations for each and how it applies in various situations. 

Auto Accidents and the Florida Statute of Limitations

Florida operates under a no-fault car insurance rule, meaning that regardless of who is at fault in an accident, all medical bills and other expenses are filed with the driver’s auto insurance. So if two cars are involved in an accident, each driver will file their injuries with their own car insurance company and not that of the other party, regardless of fault.

Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you may also be able to file a lawsuit and recover compensation. The statute of limitations for auto accidents in Florida is four years.

You might think that your injuries need to be extremely serious to merit a car accident lawsuit—but that isn’t the case. If you were at all injured in an auto crash or collision, you may be able to pursue compensation. It’s always a good idea to consult a South Florida personal injury lawyer, regardless of the severity of your injuries. 

Unfortunately, some people don’t realize or experience the full extent of their injuries until several months or even years after a car accident. If you have already passed the four-year mark after your accident, it’s likely too late to recover compensation. That’s why it’s so important to seek medical attention and also speak to an attorney as soon as possible after a vehicle accident. Reach out to a Florida injury attorney to go over the details of your potential case. 

Florida’s Statute of Limitations on Slip and Fall Accidents

The statute of limitations for slip and fall accidents is also four years. As with car accidents and other personal injury cases, this begins from the date of the accident.

Additionally, for you to have a slip and fall case in Florida in the first place, your attorney will need to prove several factors in your case: 

  • The at-fault party had a duty of care to prevent your injuries
  • By failing to recognize a threat to your wellbeing or failing to act in the interest of safety to others, the at-fault part violated its duty of care
  • That violation of the duty of care was the direct cause of your accident and injuries
  • You suffered damages due to that at-fault party’s violation of their duty of care

While these four factors might seem confusing to you and potentially difficult to prove in a court of law, you don’t have to go it alone. A Florida injury attorney will be experienced in reviewing case details and determining whether these factors were present in your case.

Injured in an Accident? Contact a South Florida Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, a slip and fall accident, or another personal injury incident, you need time to rest and recover—but you should also turn your thoughts to taking legal action as soon as possible. Reach out to a South Florida personal injury lawyer. The sooner you initiate contact, the fresher the details from the event will be for both you and any witnesses. 

Additionally, starting the personal injury claim process early also means you’re less likely to have your case denied due to the statute of limitations. Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. is a personal injury law firm prepared to handle your case with care and attention to detail. With 30 years of experience under our belts, we can promise you compassion, dedication, and transparency. Contact us for a free consultation.