Perhaps your car accident was a while ago, or maybe your injuries did not manifest until weeks later, and you just haven’t gotten around to meeting with an attorney. Regardless of the reasons, waiting too long to file a lawsuit could reduce the chances and likelihood of receiving a proper settlement. But, just because time has passed doesn’t mean you don’t have a case; there are plenty of instances where a person can win a lawsuit weeks after the accident occurred.
If you were injured a while ago and are thinking of filing a claim, there are a few things you should know about delayed lawsuits.
State Statutes of Limitations
Every state has its own statute of limitations. This determines how long you have to bring a claim against a responsible party for personal injury. This also protects others from being sued decades later. In Florida, the Florida Statute Sec. 95.11 states that you have four years to file your claim.
The clock for your time to file starts the moment you were injured. So, in this case, the moment the car accident occurred. If your car accident was three weeks ago, you are within the statute of limitations.
Date of Discovery
You may have had an accident in 2014, but the injuries were not discovered until months later. This could be because the symptoms you experienced were not tied to the accident initially, but later discovered they were. For example,traumatic brain injuries and soft tissue damage do not always show immediate symptoms, and could even take weeks to manifest. By then, most accident victims assume the symptoms have nothing to do with their car accident.
Sometimes the law will allow the statute of limitations to count from the date of discovery. So, if your injuries were not discovered until four weeks past the accident, the four-year mark may start at that time.
Type of Lawsuit
The nature of the lawsuit you’ll be bringing can also be a factor, especially when you’re filing weeks, months or years after the accident occurred. If you are filing a lawsuit that covers property damage or minor personal injury, you will need to file within the four-year statute of limitations period.
On the other hand, in cases that involve a death, such as a family member who was severely injured and disabled and died years later from their accident caused injuries, the courts may allow you to file a suit past the four-year limitation.
Also, if you are filing a lawsuit against the car manufacturer for product liability, the four-year mark may start from the date the defect in the vehicle was discovered instead of the date of the accident.
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