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Time Limit to File a Truck Accident Claim

December 3, 2023 Legal Team
alarm clock with withe backgorund and the caption "time is ticking for your Florida truck accident claim"

Truck accidents are terrifying and deadly. When a fully loaded commercial truck weighing as much as 80,000 pounds collides with an average vehicle of 4,000 pounds, the destruction to the smaller vehicle is often catastrophic. For those who survive deadly truck accidents in Florida, a claim against the at-fault driver or negligent trucking company can help injury victims recover damages. In an accident claim, the word “damages” refers to the economic and non-economic consequences of an accident. When a truck driver or the company they work for causes an accident due to negligent actions, injury victims have a limited time in which to file a claim for compensation for their damages such as medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. If you’ve been injured in a commercial truck accident in Florida, it’s important to understand how this timeline works to get the most out of your claim.

Florida’s Statute of Limitations on Truck Accident Claims

Like all states, Florida places a time limit on the amount of time after an injury that the victim can file a lawsuit. For truck accident injury claims, victims have up to two years from the date the accident occurred in which to file a lawsuit. The time limit serves several purposes including the following:

  • It ensures that evidence is still available if the case goes to court
  • It ensures that eyewitness testimony remains reliable during the claim process
  • It protects a defendant from living under the indefinite threat of a pending lawsuit

The two-year statute of limitations is a critical legal deadline that an injury victim’s lawyer must keep in mind as they navigate the timeline of a victim’s claim. Sometimes the insurance company of the party at fault in the accident offers a settlement very quickly after an accident, but often this is done for a reason. Offering a fast settlement may be the insurance company’s way of minimizing the amount they have to pay out on the victim’s claim. By accepting an early settlement before they could know the full scope of their damages, the victim sings away their right to file a lawsuit.

Although accepting an early settlement offer isn’t usually the wisest course, it’s also critical not to wait too long to file a claim.

Why Truck Accident Victims Shouldn’t Wait Too Long to File an Injury Claim

The timing of an injury claim is critical. While it’s important not to accept a settlement so early that you don’t yet know how much your medical treatment will ultimately cost, how much time you’ll lose from work, and whether or not you’ll be left with a disability, it’s also important not to wait too long. While the two-year statute of limitations may seem like plenty of time, keep in mind that your attorney will need time to do the following:

  • Investigate all aspects of the accident
  • Determine the negligent action that caused the accident
  • Identify the liable party and the appropriate insurance company
  • Document evidence and calculate damages
  • Send a demand letter to the insurance company

After sending a demand package with evidence of liability to the insurance company, often a series of negotiations take place until the insurance company offers an acceptable settlement amount. If the insurance company fails to offer an ample settlement, the case may proceed to a lawsuit in court, but an injury victim must file a lawsuit petition before the end of the two-year time limit.

Are There Exceptions to the Two-year Statute of Limitations for Truck Accident Claims?

Some extensions may apply to the two-year time limit for truck accident lawsuits in Florida. If an injury victim is unconscious, comatose, or incapacitated after an accident, they have two years from the date they regain their cognitive ability to file a claim. If a victim is under the age of 18 at the time the injury occurs, they have until two years after their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit.

In less common cases, a victim may not discover an injury until weeks or months after an accident. For example, if a person suffering from migraines is diagnosed with whiplash complications from a truck accident that occurred a few months earlier, they have up to two years from the date of discovery to file a claim.

If you have questions about how Florida’s statute of limitations impacts your truck accident claim, an experienced injury attorney from Shapiro | Delgado | Hofmann can help. Our truck accident attorneys  have offices in Sarasota and Bradenton. Contact Shapiro | Delgado | Hofmann today for your free, no-obligation case evaluation.