After recent legislation, you now have just two years from the date of a Florida car accident to sue an at-fault party. However, the previous four-year statute of limitations applies to crashes that happened before the new deadline took effect in March 2023. You should speak with an experienced Florida car accident attorney at Phillips | Tadros, P.A., as soon as possible after a crash to avoid issues with the statute of limitations.
It’s essential to act quickly if you get hurt in a car crash. That’s even more essential now that Florida has cut the statutory timeline in half. At Phillips | Tadros, P.A., our legal team is here to help you understand your legal options, including how long you have to file a claim after an accident.
Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about navigating Florida’s legal time limits and your rights after a car crash.
When Do I Have to Report an Accident to My Insurance Company?
You likely have a lot on your mind following a significant car accident. Keeping track of it all is especially hard while you’re struggling to recover from severe injuries. But you must meet specific deadlines to file an insurance claim after a collision.
Check the declarations page of your insurance policy to determine how and when your insurance provider requires you to inform them of an accident. When in doubt, you should contact your insurance company as soon as possible.
Watch what you say when you speak to the insurance company. Provide only the basic facts about what happened, not opinions, guesses, or excuses. Anything you share with the adjuster could work against you in the settlement process. It’s a good idea to consult with a lawyer before you speak to your insurer, and an even better idea to have your lawyer handle all communication on your behalf.
What Is the Florida 14-Day Accident Law?
Florida follows a no-fault auto insurance model, meaning you must first seek compensation from your own insurance company after an accident, regardless of who was at fault. You can only file a claim against an at-fault driver if your case meets specific criteria.
Getting payment from your insurance company can be challenging since you must comply with your particular policy requirements and meet strict legal deadlines set by the state. One of those deadlines is the 14-day rule. This rule says that car accident victims must seek medical care within 14 days of a crash to receive compensation from their own insurance policies. Failing to receive care for your injuries within this time frame could jeopardize your claim and cost you money.
Can I Sue the Other Driver After Filing an Insurance Claim?
Under Florida law, you can step outside the no-fault insurance system to sue an at-fault driver if your injuries meet the definition of a severe injury. Florida recognizes an injury as a severe injury when:
- The injury causes permanent or significant scarring or disfigurement
- The injury causes permanent or significant loss of a vital bodily function
- The injury is permanent within a reasonable degree of medical certainty
- The injury results in death
What Happens If I Do Not File a Case Before the Statute of Limitations Expires?
If you want to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against an at-fault individual and their insurance company, Florida recently reduced your window to do so from four to two years for accidents that occur after the new law took effect on March 24, 2023. If you fail to file a lawsuit before the deadline expires, you will likely lose your right to demand compensation in court.
Furthermore, because you cannot take the insurance company to court after the deadline passes, you effectively lose your leverage in insurance settlement negotiations. Our knowledgeable car accident lawyers can help you identify critical deadlines and keep your case on track from day one. It works to your advantage to contact us as soon as possible so we can begin an investigation while evidence and memories are still fresh.
What Damages May Be Recoverable in a Florida Car Accident Claim?
The compensation you can recover after a car accident will depend on the specifics of your claim. When you seek compensation from your own provider by filing a personal injury protection (PIP) claim, your policy should cover 80 percent of reasonable medical expenses up to $10,000, 60 percent of lost income up to $10,000, and $5,000 in death benefits resulting from the accident.
If you have grounds for an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit against another party, you could seek compensation for the total value of your crash-related losses, including the full value of your:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
Our experienced Fort Lauderdale car crash attorneys can review the circumstances of your case, identify all possible sources of compensation, and work tirelessly to maximize your payout.
What Happens If I Am Partly Responsible for the Accident?
Many people who get hurt in car accidents wonder what happens if they are partly to blame for the crash. Under Florida law, you can still file a claim against another party if you are partly to blame for an accident. However, the amount of compensation available diminishes based on the percentage of fault you bear for causing the accident. For instance, if a court finds you 10 percent responsible for a crash, the maximum compensation you can recover decreases by 10 percent.
This comparative fault rule only binds court decisions. However, insurance companies often use the rule as a guide to help them determine the value of a claim, so it pays to work with an attorney who can limit your exposure if you think you were partially at fault for an accident.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer
Navigating Florida’s car insurance laws and regulations is challenging in the aftermath of an accident. The last thing you want to worry about is paperwork and deadlines while you’re dealing with painful crash injuries. Let a knowledgeable Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney from Phillips | Tadros, P.A., handle all the legal details instead.
Contact us now for a free case evaluation to learn how we can help.