South Florida is one of the most dangerous regions of the state to drive in, and statistics prove the risks. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), there are more than 128,000 total traffic crashes in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties every year. Around 800 people lose their lives and 67,400 victims are injured in these incidents. They suffer massive losses because motorists do not exercise care behind the wheel.
Fortunately, state law provides you with remedies if you were hurt or lost a loved one in a crash. As with all personal injury cases, there is a statute of limitations to keep in mind. Florida recently enacted tort reforms that affect your deadlines, so you should rely on a Miami car accident lawyer to assist with your claim. An overview of the legal process and timing issues is also useful.
Florida’s Traffic Crash Statute of Limitations
There is a time restriction on filing a lawsuit for a personal injury case, including those resulting from auto collisions. The statute of limitations is a deadline imposed on the plaintiff, requiring the person or entity to sue in court by a certain date. If the plaintiff allows the statute of limitations to expire, the case is barred.
Because of recent changes to the law centering on tort reform, there is a new statute of limitations in Florida. The deadline has gone from four years to two, cutting half the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit. The clock begins to run on the date of the vehicle collision. Failure to sue under the two-year statute of limitations means you get no compensation.
Timeline of a Car Accident Claim
The two-year statute of limitations may sound like a long time, but you must keep in mind the activities that take place during a car accident case.
- Investigations: The two key facts you must prove are fault and your losses, so you will need to gather evidence. You can take pictures at the scene, and your medical records will serve as proof.
- Filing an Insurance Claim: You will seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurer, and the process starts by filing a claim.
- Settlement Negotiations: Many auto crash claims settle out of court, so the insurance company may make a counteroffer. With help from your lawyer, you may reach a fair agreement for monetary damages.
- Litigation: If the insurer refuses to pay a fair amount, you will need to file a lawsuit within the new two-year statute of limitations.
Discuss Legal Options with a Miami Car Accident Attorney Today
Many people do not keep up with tort reform in Florida, so the major changes to the state statute of limitations could come as a surprise. It is always smart to get started with the legal process right away, so please contact Gerson & Schwartz, PA, to schedule a free consultation. You can call (305) 371-6000 or go online to reach our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL.