One of the critical questions we ask in every personal injury lawsuit is this: When will the statute of limitations run?
The statute of limitations is a legal stopwatch that usually starts when you get hurt. That stopwatch runs for 4 years in Florida cases based on general negligence. Therefore, if you have been in a car accident in Florida, you have 4 years to file your car accident case. If you do not file your case within that 4-year statute of limitations, you lose the right to file your case forever.
Each State has Its Own Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents
Different states have different statutes of limitations. As we talked about, the statute of limitations for car accident cases in Florida is 4 years. However, if your car accident occurred in South Carolina or North Carolina, the statute of limitations is 3 years. If that same accident happened in Georgia or Alabama, the statute of limitations is only 2 years. In Tennessee, the statute of limitations is only 1 year. Therefore, it’s critical to pay attention to when and where your car accident occurred so that you don’t lose the right to seek compensation for your injuries.
Different Types of Cases May Have a Different Statute of Limitations
As we talked about, if you fail to comply with the statute of limitations, you may lose the right to seek compensation for your injuries. Some types of personal injury claims have different applicable statutes of limitations. Therefore, we listed the main types of personal injury cases and their relevant deadlines below because it’s critical that you understand the nuances involved with the Florida statute of limitations so that you can make sure your rights are protected.
Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury cases must be brought within 4 years in Florida. Personal injury cases include things like:
- Car Accidents;
- Semi-Truck Accidents;
- Pedestrian Hit By a Car;
- Bicycle Accidents;
- Slip and Fall Accidents;
- Trip and Fall Accidents;
- Premises Liability;
- Negligent Security;
- Amusement Park Accidents; and
- Boating Accidents.
Any type of case involving personal injuries and general negligence will need to be brought within the Florida 4-year statute of limitations. However, as we’ll talk about below, that statute of limitations is shorter if the case is based on wrongful death or medical malpractice.
Wrongful Death Cases
Wrongful death cases are essentially personal injury cases brought on behalf of a person who died as a result of another’s negligence. The case is typically brought by the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. Therefore, if someone died as a result of a fatal car accident in Florida, the personal representative, usually a close family member, might bring a wrongful death case against the careless driver. In Florida, the statute of limitations for wrongful death cases is 2 years from the date of death.
Medical Malpractice Cases
In Florida, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is 2 years. The same is true for dental malpractice cases and any other case based on the negligence of a medical professional. That 2-year clock starts running from the date you were injured or from the date you discovered your injuries. However, unless there is fraud involved, no medical malpractice case may be brought more than 4 years after the date of the incident. This is called the statute of repose in Florida.
Why You Should Not Wait to Hire an Orlando, Florida Car Accident Attorney
Evidence tends to disappear, and it tends to disappear quickly. You need an attorney to investigate your case, to review the police report, to reach out to any witnesses, and to visit the scene of the accident, if necessary, and gather any available evidence. For example, tire marks erode with time, and businesses don’t keep their camera footage forever. Additionally, most new vehicles contain black box data, which holds useful information about the driver’s speed and braking. However, many vehicles don’t hold that black box data for longer than 30 days. Therefore, you need an attorney to perform a quick and thorough investigation to make sure that you have every available piece of useful information stacked in your favor.
In addition to the investigation, you need an attorney to protect you from the insurance company’s agents. Soon after a Florida car accident, the insurance company folks will be reaching out to you. They will ask you to tell them about your injuries, and they may ask you to give a recorded statement or to sign something. They are not your friend. They’re entire purpose is to minimize your claim. Therefore, they will be working against you from the start, and you need an attorney in your corner to make sure you get the money you deserve and to make sure your rights are protected.
Finally, you need to focus on your recovery, not trying to navigate Florida car accident laws. Leave that to us. That’s what we do all day every day. You need to rest and recover, and we will fight to make sure your rights are protected. We keep our clients informed every step of the way, so you won’t be left in the dark about your claim. The sooner you get an attorney, the sooner you can turn your lawsuit over to a professional and relax.
Contact a Florida Car Accident Attorney for a FREE Legal Consultation
If you’ve been in a car accident, it’s a stressful time. It’s the type of thing nobody wants to deal with. However, we have a fantastic network of attorneys and medical providers, and we can take a tremendous amount of stress out of the car accident process for you. You can schedule your free legal consultation by calling us at (321) 352-7588, or you can contact us on our website.Keep in mind, lawyers do legal consultations at our law firm, not intake specialists or customer service representatives. We believe that lawyers need to listen to your story to determine liability, not a person who hasn’t gone to law school. Your case is important to us. So, once you schedule your consultation, you’re going to be speaking with one of our Orlando car accident attorneys during that consultation.