How long do I have to file an insurance claim after an auto accident in Florida?
By: Tampa Injury Lawyer, Martin J. Hernandez, Esq.
Filing a claim for injuries or property damages is a hassle. You are the victim and you are the one inconvenienced. Insult to injury. But how long do you have to file an insurance claim?
As with all things in the law, it depends. For example, you have 14-days to file a Personal Injury Protection claim, but 4 years to file a law suit.
Under Florida Statute § 95.11(3)(a), the statute of limitations for drivers to file an accident claim in court is four years after the date of the crash. If you miss this deadline by even one day, you will be unable to recover any compensation for your accident. While four years may sound like a lot of time to file a law suit, there are several exceptions to the four-year timeline. In those cases, drivers have an even shorter period of time to file their claims.
What are the exceptions to the four-year statute of limitations?
The four-year statute of limitations is only for accident claims based on the negligence of the other driver for injuries. But if someone died in the crash, your claim will be based on wrongful death instead of negligence and then you only have two years to file your claim before the statute of limitations for your crash runs out and you lose your right to compensation. Wrongful death claims are very complicated and time is more of the essence here than anywhere else.
Also, if the party you are filing your claim against is a government employee, you face different deadlines. If suing the government following a car accident, you must provide notice within three years of the accident and cannot file a lawsuit until following a 180-day (six-month) investigation period, unless the government denies the claim. This theory of sovereign immunity is very complicated and the correct forms need to filed beforehand. We routinely file it immediately so that we do not lose time.
Are there deadlines for filing a claim with my own insurance company?
Since Florida is a no-fault auto insurance state, you must first file a claim with your own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, regardless of fault, before you file a liability claim against or sue the other driver. And with PIP insurance comes another important deadline: the 14-day treatment requirement.
The 14-day treatment requirement is a rule established by Florida Statute 627.736(1)(a) that states that those injured in a car crash must seek medical attention within two weeks of the crash. If you visit the doctor on the 15th day, you will lose your right to compensation through PIP insurance.
Act Quickly to Preserve Evidence for Your Claim
After a car crash, some drivers are not ready to file an accident claim right away. It’s natural to want to delay the claims process, especially when you know you have a few years to do it and if you are hospitalized or recuperating after the crash.
But this is a bad idea. The longer you wait to file your claim, the less likely you will be able to recover important evidence from the crash. Furthermore, in my experience, cases get worse with time. Not better. For example, while you were getting back on your feet, the other driver may have moved, died, and recollection gets worse. And the longer you wait, the worse eyewitnesses’ recollections may become.
Tampa Attorney Martin J. Hernandez
Attorney Martin J. Hernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez, LLC in Tampa provides legal representation for families in auto accident injury and wrongful death cases. Our Tampa personal injury attorneys welcome the opportunity to interview with you and your loved ones. We invite you to review our recent results from settlements to trial verdicts. Our qualifications and background are available to you as well. Our Tampa Attorneys Martin Hernandez and Martin Hernandez PA are bilingual as well. Just call us at 813.755.9500 for your free consultation.
The Tampa personal injury lawyers of Fernandez & Hernandez, serve Florida communities including Tampa, Brandon, Carrollwood, Westchase, Riverview, Temple Terrace, Pasco, Pinellas, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Lakeland, Plant City, Ruskin, Apollo Beach, Dover, Valrico, Lutz, Lakeland and many other neighborhoods in Tampa Bay area. Contact an Experienced Tampa Auto Accident Attorney from Fernandez & Hernandez Law.
If you have been involved in an Auto Accident in the Tampa Bay area, call Tampa personal injury lawyer Martin J. Hernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez for a free consultation now. We recommend also reading his reviews on Google Reviews, Avvo and Yelp.
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