If you are involved in a car accident caused by a driver’s negligence, there are time limits within which you have to sue for compensation.
Different states have different times to sue. This article only applies to Florida car accident cases.
These are hard and fast deadlines. These deadlines are called statute of limitations.
A judge has no power to extend them. Below are time deadlines within which you must sue in Florida:
Claim Against Driver or Driver’s Employer – 4 years
Thus, you have 4 years to sue most of the parties who may be liable for your Florida car accident. This time limit applies regardless of whether you’re occupying a car, motorcycle or you’re a pedestrian.
Example – 4 Years to Sue a Careless Driver in Florida
Joe (not real name) is on a motorcycle (in Florida) going straight. A truck, driving in the opposite direction, makes a left hand turn. They crash.
We settled this case for $445,000 within about 1 year of the accident. At the time of the settlement, I still had about 3 years to sue.
This same time limit applies if the careless driving was operating a car. You also have 4 years to sue the:
If an Uber Driver Caused Your Injury, How Long Do You Have to Sue?
The four (4) year time limit also applies to lawsuits against an Uber driver if his negligence caused your injury. This time limit also applies to Lyft accident cases.
If You’re Working When the Accident Happened, How Long Do You Have to Sue the Careless Driver?
Time Limit to Sue for an Uninsured Motorist Claim in Florida – 5 Years
Learn about the typical 5 year deadline to sue for uninsured motorist (UM) benefits in a Florida auto accident.
Warning! The time limit may be different if you’re an out of state resident who is hurt in a Florida car accident.
Claims against the State of Florida, or a county, city or municipality in Florida – 4 years to Sue, 3 Years for Notice
If you’re injured in Florida by the negligence of a driver who is in the course and scope of his employment for the State of Florida, or a county, city or municipality in Florida, then you have four (4) years to sue.
However, you must send a notice of claim to the proper governmental bodies within three (3) years.
Warning: If you don’t send a notice of claim to the proper governmental bodies within 3 years, then the government will ask the court to dismiss your case. The court will dismiss it forever. This notice has specific requirements.
Tip: If a government employee caused your car accident, you still have 5 years to make an uninsured motorist claim.
Examples of vehicular accidents where a city, municipality, or the State of Florida’s negligence may cause your injury are:
- Miami-Dade county bus hits you
- Coral Gables trolley hits you
- City of Miami fire rescue truck hits you
- Broward County Sheriff’s police car hits you
Car Accident Cases Against the US government
If a Federal government employee’s negligence caused your injury, then the government entity must receive the SF 95 Claim Form within 2 years of the date of the occurrence of the injury.
Notice isn’t valid if you send the claim form within 2 years, but it is not received by the agency within 2 years.
You have to wait to sue until the proper agency denies the claim or, if 6 months go by and they don’t reject it, this acts as a denial. You may then sue.
Once the claim is denied or 6 months go by from the date that the government body is placed on notice, you have 6 months to file a lawsuit.
Some examples of car accident cases that you can have against the US government are if a:
- US Customs and Border Patrol
- US Postal Truck hits you
You still have 5 years to make an uninsured motorist claim.
Example of Deadline for Car Accident Case Against Federal Government
Mike (not real name) was standing next to his car. A driver is working for the US Customs and Border Patrol (Department of Homeland Security).
The driver crashes into Mike. He fractures his tibia (lower leg bone). Mike has to 2 years to sue the US government.
We immediately completed the Form 95 (Statement of Claim) and sent it to the proper parties. After 6 months, the Department of Homeland Security hadn’t made us an offer.
We then sued the US. I settled the case against all parties for $325,000.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on January 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated.