What Florida’s Statute of Limitations for Auto Accidents Means for You

Florida’s statute of limitations limits the amount of time that victims have to file an injury claim following an auto accident. If you’ve been in an accident, you don’t have time to lose. You have a finite span of time to file your suit, and if you do not file within that timeframe, you cannot file at all.

What is a statute of limitations?

The concept of a statute of limitations is centuries old. Essentially, if you are wronged or injured, you have a limited period of time to charge the offending party. These statutes help keep our justice system moving quickly and efficiently by reducing wrongful accusation or problems related to loss of evidence over time.

Consider a hypothetical example: If somebody is injured in an auto accident, he or she may be in the right in having the at-fault party cover medical costs for doctor’s bills incurred in the days following the accident. If that same person tried to sue 10 years after the fact for injuries alleged to be caused by the accident, then evidence connecting the injury to the accident may be obsolete or incomplete.

How long do I have?

In Florida, the statute of limitations for pursuing compensation for damages after an automobile accident is four years from the date of the incident. That sounds like a long time, but if you, the victim, are caught up in the misery that follows a serious automobile accident, that four-year deadline can come and go faster than you can imagine.

According to the Legal Finance Journal, the average time to settle an auto accident liability claim that goes to trial is 20 months – less than two years. Keep in mind that’s anaverage– your claim may take a few months and settle out of court, or it could take much longer than 20 months.

So why file early?

Some of the most important determining factors involved in auto accident settlement revolve around how soon you file: the availability of evidence and the clarity of victim or witness recall. Immediately after your accident, there is plenty of evidence: photos, damaged vehicles, medical records and so on. Over time,pictures and records can be lost, cars are scrapped or repaired, and your memories of the incident may fade. By filing your claim sooner, you may improve your chances of a speedy settlement because the evidence is more accessible.

Bear in mind that your case does not have to be resolved within four years – just filed. Florida’s statute of limitations is not a resolution deadline, but an initiation deadline. This means that you have four years from the date of your accident to start a lawsuit, not to finish one.

Knowledge Equals Power in Orlando Auto Accident Cases

Four years may sound like a long time to file a lawsuit, but if you’re suffering from an injury or emotional distress caused by your automobile collision or if you are unable to work, four years is four too many. Don’t wait for Florida’s statute of limitations to draw near – call me today and let’s get started.

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Copyright © Michael T. Gibson, P.A. 2019