Can You Run Out of Time to File an Accident Lawsuit?

This is a guest post, courtesy of Marc Yonker, a Managing Partner at Winters & Yonker, P.A.

If you are in an accident in Florida, in the immediate aftermath you will likely be more concerned about recovering from any injuries you sustained as a result. However, eventually you will want to think about potentially filing a lawsuit against the parties responsible for the accident. One of the most common questions is, if there is any time limit for filing a lawsuit.

Every state in America has a hard deadline after which you are no longer eligible to file an accident lawsuit, and this deadline is called a Statute of Limitations. Take California for example, where the Statute of Limitations is two years. The Statute of Limitations for accident lawsuits in Florida can range from two to four years, depending on the specific circumstances surrounding the incident. Here’s a quick guide to help you figure out what applies to your case.

Statute of Limitations for General Accident Cases

For most accident cases in Florida, the Statute of Limitations for filing a lawsuit is four years after the exact date on which the accident occurred according to Florida Statutes Annotated section 95.11(3). If you do not file a lawsuit within that time frame, the courts will likely throw out any subsequent attempts to file one. However, Florida also includes provisions for special accident cases. For instance, there are cases where you might be in an accident but not find out until well after it happens that you suffered a significant injury as a result. For such cases, you might be given an extension for your deadline to file a lawsuit. It is also worth noting that there is some variation in the Statute of Limitations for accident cases depending on the severity and nature of the injuries and damages. One notable exception is if you are filing a lawsuit for an accident case that resulted in death, it might follow a different standard for the Statute of Limitations.

Statute of Limitations for Accident Cases Resulting in Death

If the lawsuit you want to file for an accident case is for someone who died as a result of the accident, the Statute of Limitations works differently. Where personal injury cases in general have a four year deadline from the date of the accident, the deadline changes to two years from the date that the person passes away as a result of injuries sustained in the accident. For example, if someone is in an accident but only passes away one year after the date of the accident, the two year limit would begin on the date of the death. This gives some flexibility to people handling an accident case that leads to a death down the line.

Statute of Limitations for Accident Cases Involving Government Bodies

What happens if you are in a car accident with a city bus, or if you slip and fall in a courthouse or another building owned by a city, county, or state government? If you are in an accident case and the party responsible is a government employee or government agency, the time limit works much differently. For example, before you can file a lawsuit you must file a Notice of Claim in a written letter against all involved parties and agencies involved in the accident. The deadline for issuing this notice is three years from the date of the accident. If the claim is denied, you can then file a lawsuit with the same deadline of three years from the day of the accident. If the accident case results in death, a claim and lawsuit must be filed within two years of the day of the accident.

About the Author:

Marc Yonker is a personal injury attorney in Tampa, Florida. He has a great passion for serving the public and providing justice for those in need through his position at the Winters and Yonker law firm. He believes that teamwork is a key element for great success. This is one of the beliefs that helped form the law firm, with his partner Bill Winters. When someone is wrongfully injured they deserve just compensation for the hardships they have been put through. Winters and Yonker helps clients in their fight for justice. They strictly handle personal injury cases which mostly comprises of auto accidents and slip and fall accidents, among many other types of vehicle-related accidents, death cases and even electrocutions.