It is hard to think straight in the aftermath of an injury; you’re dealing with pain, potential loss of property, and seeking treatment. Often, the strain does not lessen after the initial incident is over. Now, you must contend with missing work, lost wages, ongoing medical care… the list goes on and on. If you were hurt as a result of another party’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation – but is it too late to file a claim for personal injury?
Statutes of Limitation on Filing a Claim for Personal Injury
A statute of limitation is the time period in which you can bring legal action against another party. In other words, it’s a deadline. When it comes to a personal and/or auto accident injury claim, the statute of limitations is four years from the date of the accident. You must file your claim within this window.
What happens if you do not? Your case is very likely to be thrown out, and you will not be able to take action.
Four years may sound like ample time; some people put off filing a claim. But in legal terms, 48 months is a blink of the eye. It takes time to gather evidence and records, interview witnesses, investigate, and prepare a well-researched, compelling case for damages.
And in some cases, your injury’s full extent may not become known until well after the accident or incident itself. (In those cases, your window in which to file a claim for personal injury may be extended.)
The bottom line: do not wait. If you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence, contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
What Types of Incidents Fall Under Personal Injury Law?
Broadly speaking, personal injury claims are filed when an individual suffers physical harm as a result of another party’s negligence. Car and motorcycle accidents are an all-too common example. Others include:
- Slip and falls. Owners have a responsibility to keep their properties “reasonably safe and free of hazards.” When they fail to do this, you may be able to seek compensation for injuries.
- Dog bites. Many states have a “one bite” law. That is, owners are responsible for injury if they know their dog is prone to biting or aggressive. Florida imposes “strict” liability: if someone is legally on their property and bitten, owners are liable even if their dog does not have a history of aggression or biting.
- Medical malpractice. The statute of limitations for these claims is two years from the date that you knew or should have known you were injured by a medical professional’s negligence or recklessness.
- Workplace injuries. Most Florida employees can receive Workers’ Comp. However, if they choose, they may pursue a claim against their employers instead. (Note: if you do sue your employer, you may not collect Workers’ Comp.)
- Defective products. The manufacturer of a defective product may be held liable for your injuries. In some cases, the retailer may also be held responsible.
- Wrongful death. The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is just two years. Consult an attorney immediately on behalf of a loved one.
- “Intentional torts” such as assault and battery. These injuries are not caused by negligence, but rather the willful and intentional actions of another. Perpetrators nearly always face criminal charges. However, victims can pursue civil remedies as well.
Can You File an Auto Accident Injury Claim for Personal Injury in Florida?
Florida is a “no-fault” state. When you are involved in an accident, your own insurance covers medical expenses and lost income regardless of who is at fault. It also means you cannot take action against the other driver – unless you suffered “serious injury.”
What is “serious injury” – and how do you meet that threshold? Typically, it means that you suffered:
- Permanent injury (other than scarring or disfigurement).
- Extensive and permanent scarring or disfigurement.
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function.
If you believe injuries sustained in a car accident are serious, do not hesitate to contact a personal injury attorney. They can help you determine if you meet the threshold and can pursue a viable claim.
What Is Comparative Negligence?
Florida imposes a “pure comparative negligence rule” under which the other party can claim that you are partly responsible for your own injuries. Let’s say you are driving a bit over the speed limit through an intersection. Another driver is making a left turn and hits you.
Now, you can pursue an auto accident injury claim, but since you were speeding, you are partially at fault. The other driver may be 80 percent at fault, and you are 20 percent. Now, let’s say that total available compensation is $200,000; you would receive 80 percent of that, or $160,000.
When You Need Help
Statutes of limitation and other complexities of personal injury law can be confusing. If you have experienced an injury, contact the law firm of LaBovick, LaBovick & Diaz. We will guide you through the process, aggressively pursuing justice on your behalf.