In the state of Florida, there is a legal time limit where individuals can file lawsuits or claims regarding various types of incidents, including auto accidents. This legal time limit is known as the Statute of Limitations (SOL). The SOL serves as a critical timeline within which individuals must initiate legal action. Failure to do so can cause them to lose their right to pursue a claim.
If you were involved in a car accident some time ago, you may be wondering if you can still file a claim. It’s very likely that you can! Let’s learn more about the SOL in Florida and how it might affect your case.
Statute of Limitations in Florida for Auto Accidents
In Florida, the Statute of Limitations for filing an auto accident claim is typically four years from the date of the accident, as per Florida Statutes section 95.11(3)(a). This means that individuals involved in an auto accident have a four-year window from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit in Florida’s civil court system to seek compensation for damages resulting from the accident.
It’s crucial to comprehend that this time limit applies specifically to filing lawsuits in civil courts related to auto accidents. If a claim is not filed within this stipulated time frame, the court generally has the authority to dismiss the case, barring any exceptional circumstances that might warrant an extension of the deadline.
Importance of Adhering to the Statute of Limitations
Understanding and adhering to the Statute of Limitations is important for several reasons:
- Preservation of legal rights. Filing a claim within the designated time frame ensures that individuals retain their right to seek compensation for damages resulting from the auto accident.
- Evidence and witnesses. Timely filing allows for the preservation of crucial evidence and the availability of witnesses. Memories fade, evidence may degrade and witnesses may become difficult to locate as time passes.
- Avoiding dismissal of claims. Failure to file within the Statute of Limitations period can lead to the dismissal of the case by the court. Once the time limit has passed, the opposing party can file a motion to dismiss based solely on the expiration of the SoL, making it challenging to pursue the case further.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
While the Statute of Limitations in Florida for auto accident claims is typically four years, there are circumstances where this timeline might be extended or shortened:
- Minor involvement. If a minor is involved in the accident, Florida law may provide an extension of the Statute of Limitations, allowing them to file a claim after they reach the age of majority.
- Government entities. When the accident involves a government entity or employee, there might be different procedures and shorter timelines for filing a claim.
- Delayed discovery. In some cases, injuries resulting from an accident might not become apparent immediately. In such instances, the Statute of Limitations might begin from the date the injury was discovered.
Consultation with Legal Counsel
Navigating the intricacies of the Statute of Limitations and understanding its implications in an auto accident claim can be complex. This is why it’s important to seek legal counsel and representation from a qualified attorney experienced in handling auto accident cases in Florida.
The Law Offices of Ron Sholes specialize in personal injury law. We can assess the specifics of your case, determine the applicable Statute of Limitations, gather evidence, evaluate damages and guide you through the legal process to ensure timely and appropriate action.
To schedule a FREE case review with our Florida auto accident attorneys, contact The Law Offices of Ron Sholes today.