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How Long Do I Have To File a Car Accident Claim in Florida?

There’s a lot to contend with after a car accident in Florida. Among the list of considerations is how much time you’ll have to file your car accident claim. There there are a number of deadlines you must comply with in order to receive compensation after a crash. For instance, your insurance company may impose a deadline, and Florida’s statute of limitations may impose another. 

Contacting an experienced Clearwater, FL injury lawyer shortly after an accident is the best way to ensure you file your claim on time. But in the meantime, this article will fill you in on what you need to know.

How Long Do I Have To File My Claim?

Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to car insurance. This means that all drivers must carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage and go through that coverage to receive compensation unless the accident is especially serious. You’ll file this claim with your own insurance company regardless of who was at fault for the crash, and you’ll have 14 days to do so.

If your car accident does meet Florida’s “serious injury” threshold, you may be able to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy for additional compensation. You will have more time to file that claim, but getting the process going promptly is likely to benefit you. It could take weeks or longer to ultimately receive your compensation. Reaching out to a personal injury attorney for help with this sort of claim is strongly recommended. Most lawyers will offer a free initial consultation to review your claim as well.

Florida’s Statute of Limitations Deadline

Under Florida’s statute of limitations, you have four years to file your car accident claim by default. The time for this statute of limitation starts ticking on the date of the accident. This same deadline applies if you wish to sue for property damage in addition to, or alternatively a personal injury claim. There are nuances to this deadline, however, for certain cases.

If someone has died as a result of an accident and their family wishes to bring an action for wrongful death, for example, the deadline is two years instead of four. If you intend to sue a governmental entity, you may also have less time. There are also circumstances where the deadline can be tolled (paused), for instance, if the party you are aiming to sue flees the state.

A Slight Tangent: Car Accident Reports in Florida

Under Florida law, you must report a car accident to the local police or the Florida Highway Patrol if any of the following situations occur: 

  • a death or injury occurred;
  • the accident was a hit-and-run;
  • the accident was caused by an intoxicated driver; or
  • there was property damage of $500 or more.

A crash report must be filed with the Florida DMV within ten days of the accident. In order to file this report, the driver, their insurance agent, or the driver’s lawyer must complete a Crash Report form either online, by mail, or in person. 

Do I Need a Lawyer To Make a Claim?

You may not need a lawyer in order to make a small claim, such as one only involving your PIP coverage. However, hiring an attorney is likely in your best interest for any claim larger than that. 

Insurance adjusters handle claims daily and are experts at scaring people into settling for less than they are entitled to receive. Hiring a lawyer best ensures that you are able to navigate your claim in the most efficient way and that you are being awarded the full amount of money that you deserve. 

Contact the Clearwater Personal Injury Law Firm of Winters & Yonker, P.A. for Help Today

For more information, please contact Winters & Yonker, P.A. to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Clearwater today. We have five convenient locations in Florida, including Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, and Lakeland.

We proudly serve Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Polk County, and its surrounding areas:

Winters & Yonker, P.A. – Tampa Office
601 W Swann Ave, Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 223-6200

Winters & Yonker, P.A. – Clearwater Office
600 Bypass Dr Suite 224-D, Clearwater, FL 33764
(727) 493-4418

Winters & Yonker, P.A. – St. Petersburg Office
111 2nd Ave NE Suite 350, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 314-5988

Winters & Yonker, P.A. – New Port Richey Office
5006 Trouble Creek Rd Unit #206, Port Richey, FL 34652
(727) 910-5060

Winters & Yonker, P.A. – Lakeland Office
1543 Lakeland Hills Blvd Suite 18, Lakeland, FL 33805
(863) 251-6196

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