There is a reason why lawyers tell you that you need to “act now” after you have been hurt in a car accident.” Not only does the legal process take time, but you also have a limited amount of time to pursue your claim under Florida law.
If you miss your time window, the insurance company will not entertain your claim, nor will a court allow you to sue. This concept is known as the statute of limitations, and it is a core part of every car accident lawsuit. Contact Stevenson Klotz Injury Lawyers today to discuss your case with our car accident attorneys in Pensacola and learn how long you really have to sue an at-fault driver for an accident.
How the Statute of Limitations Impacts Your Car Accident Case
The statute of limitations is the time limit of your legal right to financial compensation. Your ability to be paid for your car accident injuries has an expiration date, and that is the statute of limitations. If you do not take action before that date passes, you no longer have any ability to file a case. Essentially, you have the right to financial compensation if you act within two years.
If not, your case goes away completely.
Florida’s Statute of Limitations for a Car Accident
Florida has recently changed its laws that govern personal injury cases, making it even more important that you act now if you have been hurt in an accident.
In the past, you had four years from the date of sustaining an injury in a car accident to file a personal injury case in Florida. Under the new law, which took effect on March 24, 2023, you have two years from the time of your injury to sue in court. The much tighter timeframe can change how you approach your car accident case.
The statute of limitations is an unforgiving deadline. There is no such thing as “close enough.” If you miss the deadline by even a day, your case will be dismissed. You would not have your day in court because the court would not even hear your case on the merits.
When the Clock to Sue Another Driver Begins to Run
The statute of limitations begins to run at the time you were injured or should have known that you were hurt. In most cases, the time clock starts when you have an accident.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations in Florida
There are very few exceptions to the statute of limitations, and they are very strictly construed. These are known as “tolling.” A few exceptions to Florida’s car accident statute of limitations are:
- A minor was the accident victim, and the parents did not file suit
- The defendant was out of state
- You could not locate the defendant because they gave a fictitious name
- The defendant hides to evade the courts
Why You Need to Contact a Car Accident Lawyer Now
There may be a number of things that would need to happen before you can file a lawsuit in court:
- You would need to reach the point of maximum medical improvement, so you know the exact nature of your damages
- You must have the evidence necessary to support your case
- You may have gone through the negotiations process with the insurance company, and they either denied your claim, or they will not pay you enough money.
Either way, it may take time before you can file a lawsuit. You should contact an attorney with plenty of time to make the deadline. You would have a difficult time if you first began the legal process many months after the car accident with much of the evidence gone. If you get legal help now, your lawyer can begin to contact witnesses and gather evidence that can establish your entitlement to a settlement or award.
Contact a Pensacola Car Accident Lawyer Immediately
To learn more about the car accident statute of limitations that applies to your case and the answers to the rest of your questions, contact a Pensacola car accident attorney at Stevenson Klotz Injury Lawyers today. We can review your case during your free consultation. You need to take the first step to reach out to us, and we will fight hard on your behalf.