How Many Years Do You Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Florida?
The law provides individuals with the right to file their claims and fight for compensation. However, it also protects the liable parties against perpetual causes of actions. Individuals are not allowed to file their claims when they feel ready or at any moment they choose. As you will learn throughout this article, the statute of limitations plays a critical role in your right to compensation. If you were injured in a car accident, you should know that there is a limited time to file your claim. The Boca Raton car accident lawyers at Schwechter Law Group invites you to keep reading as we discuss how many years you have to file your car accident lawsuit in Florida.
How Long Do I Have to File My Car Accident Lawsuit?
Every state has laws limiting the amount of time a person has to submit their claim with the court. This time limit is known as the “statute of limitations.” Florida’s statute of limitations can be found in Florida Statutes Annotated Sec. 95.11(3). Under this statute, any person filing a personal injury claim has up to four years from the moment of the accident to file their lawsuit with the court. Unlike other states, Florida is a no-fault state, which is why injured victims need to file a personal injury claim to hold the liable parties accountable in car, bus, truck, and motorcycle accidents.
If someone died as a result of a car accident, the statute of limitations can change. Generally, the surviving family of the crash victim may want to pursue a wrongful death claim. Under these particular circumstances, the plaintiff has two years from the date of the accident to file their claim with the court.
Meeting the requirements set forth by the statute of limitations in Florida is critical for all injured victims. Otherwise, the court may reject their case, leaving them without a legal remedy. Under the no-fault system, a person involved in a car accident will generally turn to their own insurance company for compensation. The assistance provided by their insurance can help cover things such as their medical expenses and other out-of-pocket costs, regardless of who was at fault.
Sometimes the support your insurance can provide may not be enough to cover your losses, which is why filing a personal injury claim can be a better option for compensation. However, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit under specific circumstances.
Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit in Florida
In Florida, car accident victims can file a personal injury claim against the liable parties under specific circumstances. Under Florida statute, you may file a personal injury claim after a car accident if you suffered a permanent injury or injuries, lasting, significant scarring or disfigurement, permanent loss of bodily function, or wrongful death.
Once you have met any of the requirements mentioned above, you may proceed with your claim. During a personal injury claim, you (the plaintiff) are expected to show the other driver’s negligence. Proving negligence requires that you demonstrate the concurrence of four main elements in your claim.
First, you will need to show that the other driver owed you a duty of care. The duty of care can be demonstrated by establishing that the defendant owed you the care expected from a prudent, reasonable driver under the same circumstances. Second, you are expected to prove that the defendant breached their duty of care by driving unsafely. Third, you will need to show causation or a linking nexus between the defendant’s negligence and your accident. Finally, it would be best if you showed the court that you suffered losses due to your accident. Once you have proven all of these elements, the jury will determine the compensation you may obtain.
Keep in mind that the amount of compensation you may obtain can decrease if you are found partially responsible for the accident. Under Florida’s “pure comparative fault” rule, a driver’s compensation can be reduced by a percentage equal to their fault. For instance, if the court awards you $100,000, but you were found 10% responsible for the accident, you will be able to recover $90,000.
What Are the Leading Causes of Car Accidents in Florida?
Every car crash case is different and should be analyzed on a case by case basis. This means considering all of the circumstances surrounding the incident. Throughout the years, car accidents have occurred due to one or more of the following causes:
Distracted driving has played a critical role in many car accidents in Florida. Modern equipment and electronic devices have contributed to the high number of car accidents reported every year. The combination of electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and dashboard touchscreens create distractions capable of keeping a driver’s eyes away from the road. In turn, these distractions can lead to severe crashes. Distractions have also been responsible for thousands of injuries and deaths around the country. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has stated that during 2017 alone, 3,166 people died in distracted driving crashes in the U.S.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence (DUI) is one of the most common causes of car accidents in Florida and the U.S. Drunk driving is responsible for thousands of injuries and deaths. Alcohol-related accidents keep happening despite state and federal government efforts to prevent them. According to the NHTSA, in 2018, 814 people lost their lives in alcohol-impaired crashes in Florida.
Speeding has been a significant concern for transit authorities for years. Many people do not seem to understand the dangers related to driving at high speed. Drivers operating their vehicles above established speed limits are at risk of losing control over their car, decreasing their reaction time, and increasing the chances of a potentially life-threatening crash. According to the NHTSA, speeding has contributed to 26% of all traffic fatalities reported during 2017 in the United States.
Car Accident Lawsuit Attorney Offering Free Consultations in Florida
If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident in Florida, we can help. Thanks to our many years of experience handling car accident lawsuits, our Boca Raton personal injury lawyer can provide you with the necessary strategies to fight aggressively in the pursuit of the compensation you deserve. Don’t let an injury determine the rest of your life. Trust our experienced, skilled, and dedicated attorneys for quality legal representation. To learn more about all of our services and how we can help you with your case, call Schwechter Law Group today at (561) 935-9243.