How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in Florida?
If you have an applicable personal injury, then you have approximately four years to file a claim. However, the nuances that come with any legal situation make this clear-cut answer a little challenging to handle at times.
Most cases will have four years from the date of the injury. When filing an insurance claim, you need to understand that the window is part of your policy, often that window is only 30-days.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is what governs personal injury timelines for filing the initial claim. In Florida, you have four years to take action against the responsible party. That does not mean that your case must reach a full resolution in that time frame.
Initially, four years may not seem long. However, it’s worth noting that Florida is one of the most forgiving states in terms of the statute of limitations which controls personal injury cases. Many states offer only two years for a victim to take legal action against the responsible person or party.
There are, of course, issues that come up and can impact the action you take against the person responsible for your injuries.
Florida’s Use of Comparative Negligence
Comparative negligence can cause a lot of confusion in your personal injury case. Here’s what happens. You file a claim against the other person, say you were injured in an auto wreck. Then, they turn around and say it wasn’t their fault; it was your fault. Or, that it was partially your fault and that they shouldn’t have to pay anything.
Florida has a rule in place to govern these situations. The use of a pure comparative negligence rule allows insurance companies and courts to assign partial fault to each person involved. Then the court will reduce the damages by the percentage of your fault contribution.
For example, if you were found to be 10% at fault or negligent and your damages amounted to $100,000, the award would only be $90,000 to accommodate for your fault in the wreck. This rule comes up both in courts and during settlement talks with insurance companies.
No-Fault Auto Accident Cases
Florida’s no-fault system is different than other no-fault systems that you may have come across in the past. This system states that the injured person’s insurance provider must offer compensation for some out-of-pocket costs. This rule only applies to car accident cases, and only certain damages fall under this rule. The most common damages include out-of-pocket medical expenses and lost wages.
In cases of serious injury, you can pursue legal action against the other driver who was liable for the crash. To find out if you have access to a liability claim, contact a Tampa personal injury lawyer.
Some personal injury cases come with special circumstances. For example, if you or your child was bitten by a dog, your access to compensation may depend on whether or not that dog has bitten someone previously. Frequently called the “one bite” rule, the owner might not be completely liable for your damages.
There are many nuances like this in Florida law where even on the first bite, the owner may be liable if you were legally on the property. It’s hard for the general public to determine when some laws apply to personal injury claims and when they don’t.
Another issue to consider is damage caps. There are limitations on what an injured person can pursue some types of personal injury such as medical malpractice, or non-economic damages.
In rare cases, when a judge awards punitive damages, there is a cap of $500,000 or three times the amount of compensation, whichever is greater. Understanding these damages and how they apply to your case requires sitting down with a knowledgeable attorney.
Hire a Local Personal Injury Attorney Quickly
Recovering from a personal injury is easier said than done. Not only can your injury claim be on countdown before you no longer have access to compensation, but your medical needs may make legal action seem like less of a priority.
Hire a Tampa personal injury attorney to start your claim or case while you focus on making a full recovery. The law offices of Winters and Yonker can guide you through the legal process, gather evidence, and make a compelling argument for your side of what really happened.
Call now to schedule an appointment with a Florida injury attorney. During this appointment, you can discuss your case, and how long you have left to file your claim.