All states have a statute of limitations in place, which is a law that sets a time limit on how long you have to file a lawsuit after an injury. This usually means you have between a few months to several years to file a lawsuit. But depending on the case, there might be exceptions that could extend or shorten this time limit. The statute of limitations for most personal injury cases in Florida, including car accidents, is four years. There are, however, a few exceptions where this rule might be limited. For instance, the age of the victim can also play a role in how long you have to file a lawsuit.
Insurance Guaranty and Insolvency
Florida, like all states, has a law that protects consumers if an insurance company becomes insolvent or bankrupt. This law, known as the Insurance Guaranty Association, provides coverage for policyholders up to $300,000. Additionally, Florida has a “direct action” statute, which allows policyholders to sue their insurers directly in some cases. This law typically comes into play when an insurer has wrongfully denied a valid claim or is engaging in what is known as bad faith behavior. Examples of bad faith behavior on the part of an insurer can include failure to properly investigate a claim, failure to timely pay a valid claim, or engaging in manipulative or deceptive practices.
PIP and No-Fault Coverage
Florida is a “no-fault” state, which means that your own insurance company will pay for your medical bills and lost wages up to a certain limit, even if you were partly liable for the accident. This is known as personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. PIP coverage is mandatory in the state and must be included in all auto insurance policies. This coverage will cater to your expenses such as medical bills and lost wages, up to a maximum of $10,000. Since Florida is also a “comparative negligence” state, your percentage of fault for the accident will be taken into account when determining how much you can recover in a lawsuit. This is important to keep in mind when deciding whether to file a lawsuit, as you may only be able to recover a portion of your damages if you are found to be partially at fault.
Minors and other Exceptions
There are some exceptions to the general four-year car accident statute of limitations in Florida. For instance, if you are a minor at the time of the accident, you will have until your 18th birthday to file a lawsuit. Similarly, if the other party to the accident is a government entity, you may have a shorter time period in which to file a claim.
If you’ve been in a car accident in Florida, it’s important to be aware of the statute of limitations for filing a car accident lawsuit. In most cases, you will have four years to file a lawsuit. If you are unsure whether you fall into any of the state’s exceptions, or if you have any other questions about the statute limitations for your case, it is important to consult an experienced legal team.