In the State of Florida, a statute of limitations restricts the time period in which the victim of a car accident can pursue a claim for compensation. Victims of collisions will generally recover compensation for injury costs from their own insurer after a collision under personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, which drivers must purchase according to Florida Statute 627.736. However, if injuries are sufficiently severe or a collision is fatal, victims or family members can initiate civil litigation (a tort lawsuit) against a driver who caused the crash to happen. The lawsuit must be filed within the statute of limitations.
Florida Statute section 95.11 is the Florida law which determines time limits for different types of civil lawsuits. Car accident cases arise out of driver negligence and the statute of limitations for these types of claims is four years.
If you do not file your lawsuit against another driver within four years, your claim will be time barred. When a claim is time barred, you are no longer able to pursue a claim for compensation because of the statute of limitations. Deadlines for providing notice to your insurer of the intent to recover PIP compensation are shorter, as policyholders must seek treatment within 14 days of the accident and must provide prompt notification of the accident and injuries to the insurer.
It is important to file your civil claim in a timely manner to avoid losing the ability to pursue a cause of action for car accident losses. If you are working on negotiating a settlement with the insurer representing the driver whose actions caused your accident, you may continue pursuing a settlement even after filing a civil court case within the car accident statute of limitations.