When a person sustains a serious injury in an accident, their focus may naturally be on their physical health and recovery. However, an injury can leave a victim with serious financial problems, as well, especially if they required extensive medical treatment or had to miss a substantial amount of work during their recovery. For this reason, thinking about how to obtain financial compensation from any negligent parties can be very important and can greatly relieve unnecessary financial stress.
The idea of a lawsuit can be intimidating, so many people tend to put off learning more about their legal rights. However, every state sets out different requirements for the time limits within which a claim for personal injury must be filed with the county court. This time limit is called the statute of limitations and it is very strict. Once the statute of limitations runs out, the injured victim no longer has the right to hold the responsible party or parties liable for their losses.
Under Florida law, the statute of limitation can vary depending on what specific type of claim is in question. The following are the three most common statutes of limitations for claims related to personal injury:
- Most personal injury cases arising from negligence or intentional acts of violence = Four years from the date of the incident that caused the injury;
- Medical malpractice = Two years from either the date of the injury or from the date that the injured victim discovers the injury;
- Wrongful death = Two years from the date of the death, which is often different than the date of the incident that led to the death.
Why Is A Statute Of Limitations Needed?
Statutes of limitations are in place for several reasons. First, it is to protect the rights of the alleged negligent party so that they do not have to live being concerned about a lawsuit indefinitely following an injury. Furthermore, the quality and dependability of evidence in a personal injury case can diminish over time. Witnesses can become unsure of their memories and testimony can become more unreliable. Physical evidence can be lost or destroyed and can become impossible to obtain. In order to ensure that a trial is fair, the state sets a strict time limit.
Do Not Delay To Speak To An Attorney
Though four years may seem like a long time, it is always wise to speak with a qualified personal injury attorney as soon as possible following an injury. In many cases, addressing a possible claim immediately after the accident will allow a victim to obtain important evidence that may not be available at a later time. This can include evidence related to damage on vehicles, surveillance footage if available, and more.
In addition to the benefits of evidence gathering, it is important to note that preparing to file a complaint for a personal injury claim can take time. Some cases require extensive investigation that may take months before an attorney is ready to even begin drafting the claim. If an injury victim waits too long, the attorney may be in a rusk and the quality of the complaint may suffer. By contacting a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident, a victim can better ensure they will have a stronger case.