Time Limit for Car Accident Insurance Claims?
The time limit for Florida car accident insurance claims ranges between one and six years, depending on your state. Most states have a statute of limitations for two or three years of personal injury cases. The statute of limitations for car accident lawsuits in Florida is four years.
How the Statute of Limitations Affects Your Car Accident Case
The Florida statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is four years from the date the injury occurred, per Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a). The state may allow exceptions, but there is no guarantee. It’s a good idea to speak with a car accident attorney who can explain the laws affecting your case and any exceptions that apply.
In general, to ensure you have the right to recover financial compensation, you must file your lawsuit before the four-year deadline expires. Attempting to file afterward may result in a judge dismissing your case.
Your Right to Compensation Expires After the Deadline
The statute of limitations refers to lawsuits and not car accident claims specifically. However, the time you have to file a lawsuit impacts your car accident claim because if the statute runs out, you have no legal right to recover from the at-fault party. Outside of the statute of limitations, neither the defendant nor the liable insurance company has an obligation to pay your damages.
Why You Should Not Delay Filing Your Car Insurance Claim
While four years seems like a lot of time, it can quickly run out. Depending on the complexity of your case, the process of building a claim could take years. On top of that, correspondence and negotiations with the insurance company could stall or drag out, running down the clock. If things do not pan out in negotiations, filing a lawsuit is the next step. You’ll want to make sure you have enough time to do that.
Your Case Will Likely Take Longer If You Have Serious Injuries
Simple cases that involve minor injuries or property damage only may resolve in a few weeks to a few months, but victims battling serious injuries face a long road. You’ll need time to start, work through, and complete your medical treatment before your lawyer can file your claim or injury lawsuit. Completing treatment is necessary for your attorney to account for all your medical expenses. It’s unwise to act when all your medical bills have not come in.
Further, your claim should include the cost of future medical care, which you can only reasonably determine after your doctors assess the effectiveness of current treatments. The entire process could take more than a year, and that is just one aspect of building your injury case.
Investigating Your Car Accident Requires Time
Recovering evidence, obtaining analysis from reconstruction experts, and speaking to witnesses could take weeks or months. If your case involves multiple potentially liable parties, such as a truck company or a rideshare company, it may take longer to investigate and determine who is supposed to pay. Moreover, the insurance company will want to conduct an investigation. Each of these things runs down the clock on the legal filing deadline.
Evidence Can Erode with Time
Whether you are filing an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit, the longer you wait to file, the harder it becomes to gather evidence that supports your case. Evidence at the crash scene erodes, surveillance video footage can be deleted, and witnesses forget details or lose interest in helping. You need to gather evidence when it is still fresh to best protect the integrity of your case.
Time Limits for Filing an Auto Accident Insurance Claim with Your Insurer
Car accident insurance claims themselves do not have a time limit imposed by the insurance company when you are filing a third-party liability claim against the at-fault driver. However, your insurer may have stipulated a time limit to file a claim against your personal injury protection (PIP), comprehensive, or collision coverage. If you miss the deadline set forth in your insurance policy, the company may deny your claim.
As insurance policies are often difficult to understand, you may want to hire a car accident lawyer to help interpret your policy’s terms. Your lawyer will ensure you are aware of any deadlines for filing a first-party claim and understand your coverage’s benefits.
You Must Receive Medical Care Within 14 Days to File a PIP Claim
Your car insurance policy may indicate how long you have to file a PIP claim, but Florida has another deadline you should be aware of. Per Florida Statutes § 627.736, you must receive medical attention for your injuries within 14 days of the car accident in order to claim PIP benefits.
Act Fast to Ensure You Have a Right to File a Car Accident Insurance Claim
Don’t be fooled by what appears to be a long statute of limitations. The complexity of certain car accidents can lead to months or years of working on your case. We encourage you to reach out to a car accident lawyer as soon as possible after your car crash.
Call the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato today at (954) 633-8270 for a free case evaluation. Our car accident lawyers in Florida will file your case before the time limit for car accident insurance claims runs out. Contact us today.