Florida’s Statute of Limitations in Personal Injury Cases

You Must File Your Claim Soon

Florida Personal Injury LawyerGetting injured is bad enough. Whether you were in a car accident, bitten by a dog, suffered injuries from medical malpractice, or any other injury caused by someone else’s negligence, all you want is to get better. The last thing you may think about is a lawsuit.

But you need to. Called the statute of limitations, every state, including Florida, sets a specific amount of time you have to file a lawsuit against the person who caused your injuries. Your personal injury claim’s success demands that you speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your accident so that this deadline does not slip by. If it does, you could miss out on your chance to collect compensation from the at-fault party.

Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations is a legal term to describe the time accident victims have after their accident to file a lawsuit against the negligent party. Every state has a statute of limitations, and each state’s deadline may differ.

This means only have a short time after the date of your accident to file a personal injury claim against the person or company that caused your injuries. Remember, your lawyer needs adequate time to review your case and collect evidence.

Some exceptions exist to this rule, but most often this time is set in stone. If your accident was caused by or involves a government agency, the statute of limitations is usually even shorter.

Working with a skilled personal injury lawyer also ensures that you do not miss this important deadline. If the statute of limitations passes after your accident and then you try to file a claim, your case will likely be dismissed. The sooner you discuss your options with a trusted personal injury attorney, the sooner you may collect compensation for your injuries.

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

If your injuries are so severe that you cannot file a personal injury claim, you may get additional time. When you are incapacitated, you cannot speak with a lawyer about your accident and file a lawsuit. One example of this situation is being involved in a serious car accident where you end up in a coma.

Other examples of incapacity include:

  • Mental disability
  • Medical disability
  • Insanity

If your accident renders you incapacitated, the time extension you have is generally equal to the amount of time you are incapacitated. Using the car accident example, if you are in a coma for two months, the time to file your personal injury claim may extend by two months.

However, this does not happen automatically. To ensure that you get the protection you deserve, you or a family member need to speak with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney as soon as possible to make sure you get sufficient time added to your statute of limitations deadline.

Why Your Lawyer Needs Time

You not only must meet the statute of limitations deadline, you must give your lawyer time to fully review your case.

Before filing your personal injury claim, your lawyer needs to:

  • Review your accident information
  • Speak with witnesses
  • Investigate your accident with the help of accident experts
  • Review your medical records with the help of medical experts
  • Collect additional evidence to support your claim

It could take a long time to completely review the details of your accident. By discussing your options with a lawyer right after you suffer injuries, you give your lawyer enough time to dedicate to fully investigating your injuries and make an accurate determination of who is to blame. Giving your lawyer enough time is vital to the success of your personal injury claim and your ability to collect maximum compensation for your injuries.

Accidents Giving Rise to a Personal Injury Claim

Personal injury claims stem from:

  • Car accidents. Even minor car accidents can cause serious and expensive medical attention. Getting compensation from the negligent party after a car accident is vital to your ability to recover from your injuries while getting the medical attention you deserve.
  • Pedestrian accidents. When a pedestrian is hit by a car, there is almost no protection for the pedestrian’s body. This often causes life-threatening injuries. Collecting maximum compensation for a pedestrian accident victim often requires the experience and detailed focus of a personal injury attorney.
  • Motorcycle accidents. Like pedestrian accidents, motorcycle accident injuries can be severe. The motorcycle provides some protection to the rider, and they may be wearing protective gear. But in high-impact crashes, motorcycle accident injuries can be devastating.
  • Slips and falls. Slipping and falling can embarrass you, but it can also cause serious injuries. You may have slipped on a wet floor at a restaurant or store, causing you to lose your balance and fall to the ground. The property owner is responsible for keeping their property clear of hazards, including wet floors.
  • Product liability. Sometimes products themselves cause injuries. Whether a company designed a product poorly and this results in injury to a user, or a product malfunctioned when you were using it correctly, you may have a claim for damages against the product manufacturer.
  • Wrongful death. The most tragic of all accidents cause death. If you lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, you may collect compensation from the at-fault party through a wrongful death claim.

How You Collect Damages

Filing a lawsuit after you have suffered injuries is likely far from your initial focus. Your sole focus is getting better and getting back to your regular life. Collecting compensation is crucial to your ability to do that.

Your injuries will require medical attention. The more serious those injuries, the more expensive your medical needs become. You should not have to worry about how these medical expenses get paid. That’s why it is so important that you file a personal injury claim for damages with the time allotted for your accident.

Your lawyer may try to get you compensation for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning potential
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of life enjoyment
  • Present and future medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation costs

Most of your medical and financial needs may come in the future. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may not get back to work quickly or at all. Your injuries may require a lifetime of medical care, and that may prevent you from working. In some cases, you may return to work but in a reduced capacity, leaving you earning less than you were before your accident.

If this happens, your family may feel unnecessary pressure to work overtime or take on additional jobs to earn more money. Covering the loss of your income becomes the focus of your family, instead of helping you recover.

But this is not their burden to bear. Covering your medical bills and compensating you for your lost income is the sole responsibility of the person who put you in this position. When you partner with an experienced personal injury attorney, your lawyer can work hard to protect your rights and attempt to collect maximum compensation for your injuries.

Your Recovery

Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may require a lifetime of medical attention. Even minor injuries can require extensive medical care. Concussions, for example, can cost millions of dollars in medical care over your lifetime.

Recovering from your injuries requires quick action on your part by selecting a lawyer with proven experience helping accident victims like you recover damages for their injuries. Trusting any regular lawyer with this awesome responsibility could result in you missing out on your chance to get every dollar you deserve. Your lawyer needs to stand up to the big insurance companies and keep your best interests in mind.

Without the right legal guidance at your side, you could end up paying out of pocket for your own medical expenses. You did not cause your accident, and you should bear none of the responsibility to pay your bills. The best way for you to achieve this goal is by speaking with a skilled personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident.

Results Matter

Personal Injury Lawyer Orlando, FL - Michael T. Gibson
Personal Injury Attorney, Michael T. Gibson

Many accident victims think they can just take the insurance company’s initial settlement offer. It is always your right to do so, but you may not collect all of the money you need. The insurance company’s initial offer is usually a lowball offer that’s intended to close your case quickly and cheaply. When you take the offer, you cannot file a claim against the insurance company later on after you realize you still have bills to pay, but the settlement funds have run dry.

Avoiding this situation is paramount to your ability to get back on your feet. Your personal injury lawyer can aggressively negotiate with the insurance company to collect every dollar you deserve, so you do not need to worry about paying a penny out of your own pocket.

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