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How Long After a Car Accident Can You File a Claim in Boca Raton, Florida?

— October 5, 2022

Keep in mind that Florida is a comparative negligence state, which means that if you are partly to blame for the accident, your damages will be reduced accordingly.

Boca Raton, FL – Palm Beach County sees an average of 26,666 car accidents per year. That means around 73 crashes every single day. The toll is enormous. In 2017, for instance, 162 people were killed in car accidents in the county and almost 16,000 people were injured. The victims and their families have to deal not only with the shock, the grief and the worries of seeing a loved one in pain, but also with the inevitable financial problems. If you were recently injured in a car accident in the Boca Raton area you may be wondering how are you going to pay your medical bills, how are you going to replace your damaged car and how are you going to feed your family if you cannot work. 

Filing a personal injury claim is the obvious answer, but before you do that you should schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable Boca Raton car accident lawyer to make sure the insurance company won’t be cheating you out of your rightful settlement.

What is the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Florida?

According to the law, you have four years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim or a lawsuit. On the other hand, you have to inform your insurance company of the accident as soon as possible. The term is a bit vague, but generally speaking you are expected to give your insurer a call within 24 hours. You have to be very careful what you say during that call if you don’t want to compromise your chances of getting fair compensation. If at all possible you should talk to an experienced car accident lawyer before calling your insurer, especially if the circumstances of the crash are a bit murky and you might be found partly responsible for what happened. 

Keep in mind that Florida is a comparative negligence state, which means that if you are partly to blame for the accident, your damages will be reduced accordingly. As an example, if you were a bit over the speed limit, you might be found partly to blame even though the other driver ran a red light and slammed into you. It is the insurance adjuster that gets to determine your percentage of fault and if you don’t have a skilled attorney by your side they will try to increase the percentage so they pay you less. 

If your damages are calculated at $100,000 and you’re assigned 10% of the blame you get $90,000. However, if the adjuster says you’re 30% to blame, your damages will be reduced to $70,000. 

How long should I wait before filing a claim?

Black and white analog egg timer; image by Marcelo Leal, via
Image by Marcelo Leal, via

Not long. You should file a claim within weeks of the accident. The obvious reason is that you don’t want to have to pay all those bills out of your own pocket when you could use your insurance money. At the same time, it is advisable to have a Boca Raton accident attorney working on your case as soon as possible, because they will need to do their own investigation, to determine the exact cause of the crash and who’s to blame. If you wait too long a lot of important evidence might go missing. For instance, if your lawyer needs to interview eyewitnesses, they might be hard to locate after one year and they probably won’t remember much about your accident.

The best thing you can do is get a lawyer, have them prepare your case, but wait until you’re sufficiently recovered so you have an exact understanding of your medical bills. If you file a claim too soon and it turns out that you need additional medical treatment you won’t be able to get more money if the claim is already settled. 

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