If an individual is injured in a car accident, they do not have an unlimited amount of time in which to pursue a legal claim against any negligent parties who caused the crash. Instead, each state has set deadlines for these legal claims, solidified in state law. Such a law is referred to as the “statute of limitations” and these can differ widely from state to state. In Florida, the statute of limitations will depend on the type of legal claim that is arising from the collision.
Personal Injury Claims
If a driver, passenger, pedestrian, or bicyclist sustains serious and permanent injuries in a car accident in Tampa, they can seek compensation from the responsible party by filing a claim for personal injury. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims under Florida law is four years from the date on which the accident and resulting injuries occurred.
Wrongful Death Claims
If a car crash in Tampa resulted in the death of an accident victim, Florida law gives surviving family members the right to file a legal claim against negligent parties for wrongful death. In such cases, the family members only have two years from the date of the death to file the lawsuit. Note that the date of the death does not necessarily mean the date of the accident. There are many cases in which an accident victim is hospitalized and does not succumb to their injuries for several days, weeks, or months following the crash.
Whether a person wants to file a claim for personal injury or for wrongful death, it is imperative to file with the court prior to the statute of limitations. If the complaint is filed past the deadline, the court can simply dismiss the case without ever considering the merits of the claim.
Do Not Wait Too Long To Consult With An Attorney
Two years and four years can seem like a lengthy amount of time to most people. However, anyone wishing to file an effective claim should never delay too long before consulting with a car accident lawyer to help them pursue the case. Claims arising out of car accidents can be complicated and these cases often require extensive investigation, witness interviews, and more in order to properly identify negligence and collects the facts to support the negligence claims.
Moreover, complaints must be skillfully drafted in the most persuasive way possible to ensure that a plaintiff starts the case in the strongest position possible and is not in jeopardy of having the case thrown out. None of these things can happen overnight, so waiting until the last minute before the statute of limitations runs can significantly decrease a plaintiff’s chances at recovery. It is always a good idea to discuss legal options with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.