How Long After a Car Accident in St. Petersburg Can You Sue?

The statute of limitations for filing personal injury lawsuits in Florida varies depending on the case type. Most car accident lawsuits have a four-year deadline for filing lawsuits. The deadline for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is two years from the accident date.

Several factors could impact how long you have to sue after a car accident in St. Petersburg.

What Can Affect the Statute of Limitations for a St. Petersburg Car Accident Lawsuit?

Most car accident lawsuits must be filed within four years from the date of injury. The date of injury is generally the accident date. However, there are some exceptions.

The Discovery Rule

The discovery rule could affect the deadline to file a car accident lawsuit. For example, if you do not discover that the car crash caused an injury, the filing deadline could be extended. 

However, it can be difficult to prove you did not “reasonably” discover injuries an average person would have known about after the car wreck. For example, if you experience pain but refuse to seek medical care, it could be challenging to convince a jury you did not know the car accident caused injuries.

Tolling the Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations may be tolled (paused) in some cases. For example, an accident victim under the age of 18 years old might have additional time to file a lawsuit seeking damages. The statute of limitations could also be tolled in other situations. 

Deadlines for Cases Involving Government Entities

Sovereign immunity protects the government from being sued without its permission. Florida waived sovereign immunity for many personal injury claims, including car accidents caused by negligence

However, the statute of limitations for claims against the government is shorter than the deadline for filing lawsuits against private parties. You must file written notice of a claim within three years from the accident date (two years for a wrongful death lawsuit). The government must have at least 180 days’ notice before filing your car accident lawsuit.

What Happens if I Miss the Deadline for Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit?

The court would dismiss your lawsuit if you did not file before the statute of limitations expires. The party who caused the car accident is not held liable for your damages. Therefore, it is always best to talk with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. 

Why Do Statutes of Limitations Exist?

A reason to set a deadline for filing car accident lawsuits is to ensure that parties seek damages within a timely manner. Allowing parties to file lawsuits ten years after a car crash could compromise the evidence. Evidence may be lost, destroyed, or compromised long after a car accident. 

Setting deadlines for filing cases also helps prevent people from deciding to sue because of other reasons. For example, the person was not injured in a car accident. However, they need money years later, so they decide to file a lawsuit.

Deadlines can also encourage parties to settle claims without court intervention. As the deadline for filing lawsuits approaches, the parties might be more willing to compromise to settle the claim instead of going through the time and cost of filing a personal injury lawsuit.

Reasons Why a Car Accident Claim Might Not Settle 

Most car accident cases settle without the need to file a lawsuit. However, some cases cannot be resolved without court assistance. Reasons that a car accident case does not settle without a lawsuit include:

  • The insurance company denies liability for the claim
  • The victim sustained permanent impairments or catastrophic injuries
  • The other driver disputes liability for the car accident
  • You are being blamed for contributing to the cause of the car wreck
  • Multiple parties could be liable for the accident
  • A government entity or commercial trucking company is involved in the accident
  • The insurance company refuses to negotiate in good faith

The insurance company always looks for ways to lower the value of a car accident claim. It protects its best interest by undervaluing damages and denying valid insurance claims. A claims adjuster uses various tactics to pay as little as possible for your claim.

Initial settlement offers are often much lower than the value of your claim. Furthermore, talking to a claims adjuster without seeking legal advice could hurt your personal injury case

Instead, talk with a car accident attorney before accepting an offer or providing a statement to the insurance company. Ensure that you understand the law and your legal options to protect your best interests after a car crash.

Contact the Pinellas County Car Accident Law Firm Of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers for Help

For more information, please contact the Clearwater and St. Petersburg car accident law firm of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.

We serve in Pinellas County, and its surrounding areas:

Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater
1875 N Belcher Rd. STE 201,
Clearwater, FL 33765,
United States
727-796-8282

Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg
2560 1st Ave S,
St. Petersburg, FL 33712,
United States
727-344-4242