How Long Do I Have to Report a Car Accident to Insurance in Florida?
Auto insurance policies vary on how long you have to report your car accident in Florida, so you will need to check with your insurance to determine this time frame. With that said, you must comply with other deadlines for your claim to be approved for compensation or maintain legitimacy in court, such as the following:
- You must file a Florida Traffic Crash Report – Long Form within 10 days of the accident.
- You must seek medical care within 14 days of the accident and report this to your insurer if you wish to seek compensation for these damages.
- You have up to four years to file a lawsuit about the accident if you intend to pursue compensation for your injuries.
A car accident lawyer can manage your case and organize materials on your behalf. They can submit documentation for you so that it is on time and review your case to see what else you must include in your claim or lawsuit.
Florida Law Mandates You Must Comply With Reporting Requirements to File a Claim
Florida Statutes § 316.066 mandates that drivers have up to 10 days to file a written crash report to law enforcement. You can file a report through the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). Individuals must file a crash report if the accident involves:
- Bodily injury
- Property damage, especially if it resulted in a vehicle getting towed
- A commercial vehicle
Filing a crash report can establish key facts about your case when filing an insurance claim or lawsuit. For example, the report likely will include information about when the accident occurred, who was involved in it, and its causal factors.
You Must Seek Medical Care Before Filing an Insurance Claim
Florida Statutes § 627.736 was passed recently and now affects personal injury protection (PIP) claims. It mandates that claimants seek medical care within 14 days after a motor vehicle accident if they want to pursue compensation for their medical damages. Claimants can recover 80 percent of their medical expenses through PIP coverage. However, individuals with “emergency medical conditions,” as defined in Florida Statutes § 395.002(8), may receive the maximum payout.
This time limit does not mean you have 14 days to file an insurance claim. However, if you do not seek medical care within this two-week period, you might not be able to claim medical damages.
Car Accident Victims Must Meet Statutory Time Limits to File a Lawsuit
If you decide to pursue an injury lawsuit over your motor vehicle accident, Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a) mandates that you submit your case within four years from the accident date. If you fail to meet the statutory deadline for your case, you may be barred from pursuing compensation through Florida’s civil court system.
In many cases, if a plaintiff’s case is dismissed because it surpassed the statute of limitations, the court can absolve defendants of liability. This can weaken your case if you attempt to negotiate a settlement with the insurer.
A Car Accident Lawyer Can Inform You of Other Legal Deadlines
Other legal deadlines may apply to your case. For example, if your car accident case involves naming a municipality as a liable party, you may have a shorter timeline than the standard statute of limitations permits to file your case.
Working with a personal injury lawyer can help you organize the schedule for when you should submit reports, evidentiary materials, and other legal paperwork. Attorneys often have their legal teams manage their clients’ cases while preparing their claims for negotiation or their cases for trial. Should you decide to work with an attorney, they may offer:
- Private investigation into your accident to retrieve evidence and information about your case
- Communication services to handle statements and negotiations with insurance adjusters, other attorneys, court officials, and other inquiring parties
- Case value estimation services, which involves calculating your damages to determine how much compensation you may qualify to pursue
- Legal representation, which can apply to out-of-court meetings and trial hearings, depending on the legal course your case takes
If you have more questions about how a lawyer may be able to help you, many law firms offer the first consultation for free to discuss these terms.
Get a Free Case Review When You Call Distasio Law Firm Today
At Distasio Law Firm, our car accident attorneys in Florida can help you build a personal injury case to pursue compensation. We can review your case to see if you are within grounds to file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit against a liable party. If so, we can manage your case and update you as it develops. We will also provide legal counsel when necessary.
Contact us today to receive a free consultation about your car accident. You can speak with one of our team members and learn more about our legal services.