Another driver was reckless, crashing into your vehicle and injuring you. Now, you have to pay medical bills and car repairs. You also lost some income because you had to take time off work to go to doctors’ appointments. Not to mention, this entire ordeal has taken a toll on your emotional health. This isn’t fair, and you’re wondering when and how long you have to file a claim after a car accident.
With the help of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey, and Fronrath, auto accident lawyers in West Palm Beach, you can file your claim and get the compensation you deserve.
How long to file a claim after a car accident in Florida?
If you believe you have a solid claim, then you’ll have up to four years to file your car accident lawsuit in Florida. That’s the statute of limitations. If you file more than four years after the date that the accident occurred, it will likely be dismissed.
For wrongful death cases, where a loved one was killed in a car accident and you’re filing a claim on their behalf, the statute of limitations is two years.
Why You Should File Now
Regardless of exactly how long you have to file a claim after a car accident, it’s important to do it quickly. Even though you have up to four years to file your claim, there are many reasons why you should do it much sooner.
The first is that you should file while the details of the crash are still clear in your mind. If you wait, your memory could become fuzzy and you might forget key details.
Another reason is that you could accidentally misplace your proof, such as photographs and witness statements. You’ll need that proof to have the best chance of winning your lawsuit. Without it, you won’t have much of a case.
Additionally, even if you go to the hospital immediately following your accident, the defendant’s car insurance company could say that something else caused your injury since you waited so long to file the claim.
You also don’t want this accident hanging over your head for four years or more. If you file your claim right away, you could pay your expenses and get closure that much sooner. You won’t be wondering for years on end if you will be stuck paying these bills out of pocket.
Practically speaking, you’ll need to check your own insurance policy, because it could require that you file a claim no later than 30 days after the accident occurred.
How to File a Claim After a Car Accident
You can file a claim or a car accident lawsuit by hiring a personal injury lawyer with experience working for clients injured in car accidents. They will get in touch with the defendant’s insurance company and attempt to work out a settlement offer.
This is a much better option than accepting the initial offer from an insurance company since they tend to pay out very low settlements if there isn’t a lawyer involved. They aren’t in the business of paying out fair compensation. Your medical expenses and other damages could be much higher than you think.
If you’re scared that the offer will go away if you decline it, don’t worry. Once your lawyer gets involved, they will work to get you a higher settlement so you can actually pay your bills.
Your lawyer will do all the heavy lifting for you by negotiating with your insurance company and gathering the evidence you need to win your case. They will even go back to the drawing board and renegotiate the offer if it isn’t high enough. The best part is they won’t charge you anything unless you win. Once you get your settlement, they’ll take out their commission. If you go through their network of medical providers, they’ll also take out the money you owe to those providers.
There is no downside to working with a personal injury lawyer. As long as you find someone who has the experience and winning results, you have nothing to lose.
How To Ensure Success With Your Lawsuit
When you get into a car accident, you’ll need to stay at the scene to take photographs of the damage to your car and belongings, your visible personal injuries, and the defendant’s car and license plate.
Ask the defendant for their name and contact information, along with the name of their insurance provider and their policy number. If they attempt to give you cash on the spot so you won’t file a claim, don’t accept it. You won’t be able to collect a proper settlement later on.
Once you’ve also collected witness statements and called the police to document the accident, head to your local hospital for a check-up and X-rays. If the doctor prescribes you medicine, make sure you take it. If they send you to specialists for treatment, go to all your appointments. If you don’t, then it could hurt your case. Keep any receipts from your doctor’s appointments, too. You can go through your insurance to pay the bills.
If you don’t have insurance or you don’t want to use it, ask your personal injury lawyer if they have a network of providers you can work with on a treatment plan.
How long to file a claim after a car accident? You have four years, but your chances of a great settlement decrease as time goes by. If you’re ready to initiate your lawsuit, contact Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey, and Fronrath for help.
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