Automobile accidents happen all the time in Pompano Beach, Florida, and very few people are prepared for them. After all, no one expects an accident, and when they occur, they can be overwhelming and confusing.
Florida’s insurance laws can be confusing for accident victims. If you have been injured in an automobile accident and have extensive medical bills and lost wages, or are experiencing high levels of pain and suffering, you may benefit from speaking with an auto accident attorney about suing the other driver’s insurance company. Call 954-388-9841 about a free case evaluation.
What to Do After a Car Accident
Your first priority after any accident should be seeking medical care, even if you think your injuries are not serious. Adrenaline can temporarily mask the pain and hide the seriousness of your injury. In addition, you may not notice whiplash and other neck and back injuries until the morning after the accident.
Once everything has settled down, you’ll probably start to wonder what to do after a car accident that wasn’t your fault. You may begin to worry about how to pay for the medical bills you’ve received and the lost wages due to the accident. You may even think about suing the car insurance company. Here are some important things to know if you decide to sue the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
How Long Do You Have to Sue an Insurance Company after an Accident?
Florida is a no-fault state, which means that each driver’s medical bills are covered first by their own insurance carrier, no matter who is at fault. Every driver must be insured for at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 of property damage liability coverage.
That doesn’t mean you can’t sue the at-fault driver. Your best course of action is to contact an attorney specializing in personal injury about the merits of your case. The time limit to sue is called the statute of limitations. If you are considering suing an insurance company after a car accident, you generally have four years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury or property damage complaint. But there are some exceptions and clarifications.
Exceptions to the Four-Year Statute of Limitations
Although you have four years to file a lawsuit for injuries as a result of a car accident, this applies mainly to legal action based on negligence. Unless there are extraordinary circumstances, a court will not hear an injury case after four years.
When a loved one dies in a car accident, it is considered a wrongful death car accident, and the statute of limitations is two years after the passing of the injured person. Even if the person does not die immediately, if there is no way to prevent their passing due to extensive physical damage caused by the accident, then the accident is the reason they lost their life, and a wrongful death suit may be filed.
If the accident was caused by a defective car or car part, the manufacturer can be sued. The lawsuit must follow the same statute of limitations as any other personal injury (4 years) or wrongful death (2 years) case.
In a case where the driver who causes the accident is a government employee, or if the accident is due to poorly maintained roads, victims can sue the government. The statute of limitations for this is three years.
What Is the Best Way to Sue an Insurance Company for a Car Accident?
You should never try to handle a car accident claim on your own unless the claim is clear cut and all the damages are covered without incident. When the claim becomes complicated, hiring a personal injury attorney is your best bet for suing a car insurance company.
The car insurance company may argue the amount of comparative negligence as a method of reducing a claim, especially if you try to settle without legal representation. A quick settlement offer to avoid litigation often includes a full release from covering future medical expenses. Once you sign this, you cannot revisit your claim later if it turns out you need more medical care. No attorney would recommend this, but many insurance companies use this tactic. Often, injuries cost more long-term than you initially think they will.
How Long Should a Settlement Take When Suing an Insurance Company for an Auto Accident?
There is no real way to predict how long your case will take to settle. It often hinges on a variety of factors, including:
- The strength of your case
- How large a sum you are seeking
- The nature and extent of your injuries
However, most Pompano Beach car accident claims settle sooner or later. Insurance companies have a set time limit to respond to a claim and decide if they will deny or accept it. If you agree to a settlement, the insurance company has 20 days to pay the claim, according to Florida Statute 627.4265. If the claim is for Personal Injury Protection, the car insurance company has 30 days in which to pay the claim from the time it was submitted per Florida Statute 627.736.
However, these timelines are guided by how long it takes to get information to the insurance company. The claims negotiation process can take a long time. Whether or not your case goes to court is the single most important factor in figuring out how long it will take to get a settlement after a car accident.
Suing a car insurance company can take a long time but may be worth it long-term. Settling out of court often means you can receive needed funds sooner. We can help you decide which option is best for you.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Pompano Beach
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, and are considering suing a car insurance company, contact a personal injury lawyer in Pompano Beach right away. LJW Legal will work tirelessly to get the settlement you deserve.