If ever you or a loved one should ever suffer an injury or damage that is not your fault, it is essential that you move quickly to seek legal recompense for any costs you may suffer from it. Ideally you should contact a legal representative the moment the injury occurs, however some folks may postpone the legal arrangements until a later day. The reasons for this vary, however whatever the reason it’s not a wise cause of action. Unnecessary delays may cause you to find yourself foul of the statute of limitations for personal injury, such as they exist within the State of Florida.
What is the Statute of Limitations?
In its most simple, summarized form, a statute of limitations is the amount of time necessary for a lawsuit to be filed before it becomes void. Consider it like any other expiry date and you have a good idea of what the Statute is and does. Even if the other party was absolutely responsible for damages caused, you’d have no legal grounds to pursue a claim. It’s for this very reason it’s important to contact a law firm as soon as possible.
Certain cases will have different limitation periods than others, as such it may not always be possible to know exactly how much time you have before you can no longer file a claim. Again, another reason to contact your lawyer.
But why have this at all? Surely it’d be better to have an indefinite in which an injured party may make a claim?
In an ideal world, sure it would. However, the problem with time is that it has a habit of corroding things, and evidence is no exception. As time passes, evidence is lost as eye-witnesses forget details, physical evidence goes missing, and the exact extent of injuries suffered becomes hard or even impossible to gauge. Imagine, for example, you suffered a broken leg in a car accident. If you waited until the leg was healed before taking the other party to court, how can it possibly determine the exact cost of the injuries if they don’t exist anymore and no evidence remains of them?
As a general rule, personal injury cases can be filed within four years of the injury taking place. If you are filing a case against the state, municipality or city, the deadline is three years. However, there are exceptions that you should always keep in mind.
There are also cases where the Statute of Limitations may be temporarily extended in the event where you were unaware an injury had not even occurred until the time limit had already expired, but be aware such incidents are exceedingly rare. As a general rule, you should always try to make your claim to a Florida civil court within the first week of your injury, if not the day.
How to File a Claim
Before you file any sort of claim against anyone, you need to know how and where it should be filed to. Sending the case to the wrong court may result in lengthy unnecessary delays, which will cost you not only time but money as well. Worse, the longer the case is circling within the wrong part of the legal system, the greater risk you run of hitting the statute of limitations deadline. If you’re uncertain where your particular injury should be filed, check with your legal representative.
Your claim should contain the following things if you wish it to be both accepted by the court, and have a chance of reaching a successful settlement for you and your injuries.
• Details of the injury in question. Write down everything you can remember from the time and date of the injury, its location, and the events leading up to it. Photographic evidence of the injuries immediately after they were suffered, as well as doctor, police or other professional reports (depending on the nature of the damages) are highly valuable too.
• If available, eyewitness testimonies. If any witnesses were on hand at the scene, try to get their contact details and an agreement from them to testify on your behalf. Their account will make your case all that stronger.
• If possible, get written or spoken testimonies from people at the time. This can be anything from a written statement by an onsite medical practitioner, to a recorded statement from a witness. These can be more valuable than court testimonies, as they are more authentic to the time and place.
• Advice from a law firm to affirm that you have a case, and how it should be filed. The advice of professional lawyers cannot be understated in their value, and their expertise can be essential in ensuring your case is filed properly. They may also advise you of any additional laws or statutes that may help or hinder your case.
Contact a Lawyer
We’ll say this a third time, as it is essential that we impress upon you the importance of this. Contact a legal expert the moment after your injury has been inflicted. If you practice or study law yourself, then you will probably know a great deal about how the legal system works already. However, many citizens will not have ready access to that knowledge, and this may cause them to make highly damaging mistakes even within the first few hours of the case.
By seeking the assistance of an attorney, you can bring to the table the advice and experience of a professional practitioner of law. This makes the process of collecting and filing your claim infinitely easier and greatly boosts your chances of a successful suit.
There is very little reason to do otherwise. If you should ever suffer a personal injury, do not delay in contacting a seasoned personal injury lawyer for immediate advice and representation.