How Long do I Have to Bring a Personal Injury Claim?
In Florida, the statute of limitations for general negligence claims is four years from the date of the accident. If suit is not filed within the statute of limitations, the claim will be extinguished. General negligence claims include car or truck accidents, slip and falls, dog bites, inadequate security at a business or apartment complex, stairwell accidents and those caused by other unsafe conditions encountered in a business or public place.
Uninsured motorist claims have a five year statute of limitations; however, in some instances suit should be brought within four years. This is because you may void your own uninsured motorist coverage by letting four years pass without suing the uninsured driver. Your uninsured motorist insurer has the right to seek reimbursement from the at-fault driver for any payment it makes to you. If more than four years passes from the date of the car accident and you have not sued the at-fault driver, then that driver can no longer be sued for the damages he or she caused. In this scenario, the uninsured motorist insurer has lost its right to seek reimbursement from that driver. This can lead to a loss of your uninsured motorist coverage.
As stated above, car accident claims have a four year statute of limitations. However, Florida’s personal injury protection laws require that you obtain medical care within fourteen days of an accident in order to receive any benefits. For those who are very conservative and want to see if their injuries heal on their own over time, this can be a very significant disadvantage. The $10,000.00 of PIP benefits is extremely helpful in getting thorough medical care and reimbursement for lost wages.
Claims for nursing home neglect or abuse and medical malpractice have a two year statute of limitations from the date you had some reason to suspect you may have suffered from negligent care. Medical and nursing home claims are very time consuming for an attorney to evaluate and the attorney must have the matter reviewed by a nurse or doctor before the claim can be initiated. Because this investigation is time consuming, waiting any amount of time before consulting with an attorney about a nursing home or medical negligence claim is strongly discouraged.
Negligence claims against the state, or a division of the state, like the City of Jacksonville, for example, must be filed within four years; however, a notice must be filed with the state agency or municipality within three years of the accident or incident.
Despite these time frames, it is a good idea to discuss your situation with a lawyer without delay. Over time, the strength of a claim can weaken – evidence can be lost and witnesses can become very hard to find and may not remember things as well as time passes. Most personal injury and car accident lawyers in Jacksonville will meet with you at no cost and no obligation to discuss your potential case. Sometimes, we consult with people in this situation and we advise them to wait a few weeks to see how serious their injuries are before deciding to pursue a claim.