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Timing a Personal Injury Claim in Florida: When Can I File a Lawsuit?

August 14, 2023 Legal Team
stopwatch next to judge gavel on law books

When you’ve sustained an injury due to someone else’s negligence, navigating the ensuing legal maze can be a challenging task. One of the most critical decisions you’ll make during this process is when to file a lawsuit. Understanding the legal timelines, including the statute of limitations in Florida, can be essential in ensuring you receive the justice you deserve. In this blog post, we will explore the best time to file a personal injury lawsuit in Florida, citing relevant statutes and resources.

Understanding the Statute of Limitations

The first factor you must consider is the “statute of limitations.” This legal concept denotes the maximum time after an event within which legal proceedings may be initiated. As of March 24 2023, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Florida is now TWO YEARS from the date of the accident. Failure to file your lawsuit within this period can result in losing your right to legal recourse altogether. Therefore, it’s essential to be aware of this timeline and to take action promptly.

When Should You File a Lawsuit?

Ascertaining the best time to file your lawsuit involves a delicate balance between allowing enough time for a comprehensive understanding of your injuries and ensuring you don’t fall foul of the statute of limitations. Here’s a general guide on timing your lawsuit:

  • Immediately After the Accident: In the immediate aftermath of the accident, your priority should be seeking medical attention and beginning the recovery process. Also, report the accident to the relevant authorities and notify your insurance company. This is a good time to preserve the evidence, but not a good time to file a lawsuit because you do not know the full extent of your damages.
  • During Medical Treatment: As you undergo treatment, ensure all medical procedures, diagnoses, and costs are well-documented. This documentation will form a crucial part of your claim.
  • Completion of Medical Treatment: It’s often wise to wait until you’ve reached ‘Maximum Medical Improvement‘ (MMI), a point at which your condition has stabilized and no major medical improvement is expected. This allows for a clearer picture of your long-term prognosis and the potential costs of future care. However, do not wait to consult with an attorney – they can guide you through the process even as your treatment continues.
  • Negotiations with the Insurance Company: Ideally, your claim will be settled through negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance company. An experienced attorney can handle these negotiations on your behalf, aiming to secure a fair settlement.
  • Filing the Lawsuit: If negotiations fail to yield an acceptable settlement, it may be time to file a lawsuit. This step should be taken well within the four-year statute of limitations window to ensure your right to pursue compensation is preserved.

When Waiting Isn’t an Option

In certain circumstances, it’s prudent to file a lawsuit sooner. If the responsible party is a government entity, a claim must be filed within two years in Florida. Similarly, if the two-year statute of limitations is rapidly approaching, immediate legal action is necessary.

Shapiro | Delgado | Hofmann Is Here to Help

Determining the optimal time to file a lawsuit requires a deep understanding of both the legal landscape and your unique situation. Hence, it’s highly beneficial to enlist the help of a qualified injury attorney at Shapiro | Delgado | Hofmann. They can navigate the complexities of the legal system, guide you on timing your lawsuit, and advocate for your rights. Our personal injury lawyers are conveniently located in Sarasota and Bradenton. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation.