Mark Roman | August 15, 2023 | Car Accidents
It is important that you understand how long you have to file a Florida personal injury or wrongful death claim. If you miss the deadline, you could end up with no compensation. There are several deadlines that you need to be aware of.
Florida’s No-Fault Auto Insurance System
Florida administers a no-fault auto insurance system. Every driver must purchase $10,000 worth of personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. If you suffer an injury in an accident, you look to your PIP insurance first, regardless of who was at fault. You cannot sue the other driver unless your injuries pass a certain threshold of seriousness (a permanent injury, for example).
The following deadlines apply to PIP claims:
- You must file an accident report within 10 days of the accident. If the police come to the scene of the accident, they will take care of this requirement for you.
- You must seek medical attention within two weeks of the accident.
- Look to your PIP insurance contract to determine how long you have to file a PIP claim.
In Florida, property damage claims are not no-fault. You can file a third-party claim against the other driver’s property damage liability (PDL) insurance, or you can simply sue the other driver for your property damage.
The Statute of Limitations
In 2023, Florida shortened the statute of limitations deadline for filing a car accident lawsuit from four years to two years. That means you have two years after the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. It also means two years after the date of death for a wrongful death lawsuit.
If you miss the deadline, and if no exception applies, your claim is effectively dead. You cannot even negotiate a settlement. After all, why should the opposing party negotiate a claim that you cannot enforce in court?
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
There are several exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations deadline:
- The discovery rule: The two-year statute of limitations clock doesn’t start running until you discover your injury, as long as you acted with reasonable diligence to discover it. This rule typically applies to medical malpractice claims.
- Florida will extend the statute of limitations deadline if you were incapacitated (in a coma, for example) or under 18 at the time of the accident.
- Florida will also extend the deadline if the defendant left the state, if the defendant concealed their identity to avoid detection, or if you were a victim of child sexual abuse.
The statute of limitations deadline can be tricky to calculate. Consult a lawyer if you have any doubts.
Government Tort Claims
If you are filing a claim against the Florida state government, one of its subdivisions, or a municipal or county government, an additional deadline applies. Before you file a lawsuit against a Florida government agency, you must present the agency with written notification of your claim. Florida then has 180 days to respond.
If Florida rejects your claim within 180 days, you can file a lawsuit immediately. If they ignore your claim, you have to wait 180 days to file a lawsuit. If Florida responds with a counter offer within 180 days, you can negotiate with them. You can also break off negotiations and file a lawsuit at any time at that point.
How Long Does a Lawsuit Take To Settle?
How long do lawsuits take to settle? The answer to that question depends on many factors, including the size and complexity of your claim. The larger your claim, the longer it is likely to take to settle. Likewise, complex claims, such as medical malpractice claims or product liability claims, typically take longer to settle than most car accident claims.
The average claim takes several months to settle. Some claims settle after only a few weeks, however, while a few claims take years to resolve.
How Long After a Settlement Do I Get Paid?
How long after settlement do I get my money? The short answer is that it shouldn’t take more than a few weeks after you sign the settlement agreement to get your money. An insurance company will send the money to your lawyer.
Your lawyer will deduct legal fees, case expenses, and any other appropriate amounts (such as for a medical lien). They will then send the rest of the money to you.
Do You Need a Florida Car Accident Lawyer?
If your claim is based on a non-injury fender bender, you probably don’t need a lawyer. If you were seriously injured, if someone died in the accident, or if your car was seriously damaged, you’re likely to need a lawyer to help you obtain the full value of your claim.
Contact the Clearwater Car Accident Law Firm of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today
For more information, please contact the legal team of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for a free initial consultation with a car accident lawyer in Clearwater. We have four convenient locations in Florida: Clearwater, New Port Richey, and Tampa.
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
1811 N. Belcher Road, Suite I-1
Clearwater, FL 33765
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Congress Ave Office
2360 Congress Avenue
Clearwater, FL 33763
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
6601 Memorial Hwy Suite 202
Tampa, FL 33615
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
2515 Seven Springs Blvd.
New Port Richey, FL, 34655