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Auto Accident Archives | Farah & Farah

Statute of Limitations For Florida Car Accident Claims

By Farah & Farah on June 20, 2017

Individuals who are injured in a car accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence can recover compensation in Florida by filing a personal injury claim against the negligent driver. While injured parties are entitled to sue those who negligently harm them, this right does not last forever. This is because Florida has a statute of limitations which limits the timeframe within which personal injury claims resulting from car accidents can be filed. This article briefly explains what a statute of limitations is, outlines Florida’s statutes of limitation that commonly apply to car accident injuries, and notes some important exceptions to these limitations.

What is a Statute of Limitations?

A statute of limitations (SOL) is a law that affords plaintiffs (i.e. the person suing) a limited timeframe within which they are allowed to file their lawsuit. Many civil lawsuits are governed by a statute of limitations, most of which are state specific. For example, one state may grant wronged individuals one year to file their claims, but a neighboring state may have a statute of limitations that affords plaintiffs with the same type of claim two years within which their claims can be filed. It is incredibly important to know how long you have to file a claim under your state’s applicable statute of limitations as failing to file on time will likely result in your claim being barred.

States generally enact statutes of limitation in order to encourage legal conflicts to be resolved in a timely manner and to help discourage fraudulent claims. However, in the interest of fairness it only makes sense that some types of civil plaintiffs should have more time to file their claims than others. Therefore, Florida has established several different statutes of limitation that respectively govern a variety of different types of cases including personal injury, libel/slander, injury to personal property, professional malpractice, trespass, and workers’ compensation lawsuits.

Florida’s Car Accident Statutes of Limitation

  • Personal Injury Lawsuits: Florida Statutes section 95.11(3)(a) applies to plaintiffs suing in Florida on a civil action founded in negligence (which includes nearly all plaintiffs with a personal injury case based on a car accident), and holds that plaintiffs have four years from the date of the accident within which they are permitted to file their claim. Failing to meet this deadline will result in the court refusing to hear your case, unless you are able to successfully argue that your claim falls under an exception to this statute of limitations. Some valid exceptions to Florida’s personal injury statute of limitations are outlined below.
  • Wrongful Death Lawsuits: If an individual is injured in a car accident in Florida and passes away from his or her injuries, their family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit against the party who caused the accident. However, surviving family members must act quickly because Florida’s statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits (Florida Statutes section 95.11(4)(d)) generally requires claims to be filed within two years of the deceased family member’s passing.
  • Injury Claims Filed Against the Government: Car accident victims in Florida who wish to file a personal injury claim against a city, county, or state government should be aware that they will generally only be granted three years from the date of their accident within which to file their claims.

Exceptions to Florida’s Four Year Statute of Limitations For Personal Injury Lawsuits

It should be noted that under some limited circumstances a personal injury plaintiff’s statute of limitations clock can be delayed or tolled. It is important to know that these exceptions exist, but they should not be relied on before first consulting with a local personal injury attorney because determining whether or not a particular claim falls under a valid SOL exception can be extremely tricky.

In Florida personal injury cases, the plaintiff’s statute of limitations clock starts to run when their “cause of action arises.” In a personal injury case resulting from a car accident, the cause of action arises when the injury that is the basis of the lawsuit occurs (i.e. during the car accident). However, the “discovery rule” enables a plaintiff’s statute of limitations clock to be tolled (or paused) until the injured individual should have reasonably discovered their injury. Florida employes the discovery rule because it would be unfair to bar an injured plaintiff’s claim without giving them sufficient time to discover that they are injured and to get their claim filed.

Additionally, the court may also toll an injured plaintiff’s statute of limitations clock in the interest of justice if fairness requires the plaintiff to have additional time within which to file their claim. For instance, a court may permit an SOL to be tolled if the plaintiff was less than 18 years old when their cause of action arose and no one filed a suit on the minor’s behalf. Also, under some circumstances the court may toll a mentally incompetent individual’s statute of limitations clock until the plaintiff regains their mental competency, or until someone else has filed a lawsuit on their behalf.

Determining when a particular plaintiff’s statute of limitations begins and ends can be extremely complicated as there are many factors and exceptions that must be taken into consideration. Therefore, be sure to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer about your claim’s statute of limitations without delay.

Need Legal Advice?

If you were injured in a car accident in Florida be sure to get your claim started as soon as possible in order to best avoid being barring by our state’s statute of limitations. Discuss your case with an experienced  Florida car accident attorney as soon as possible to determine when the statute of limitations will expire in your case and whether or not your case falls under one of the exceptions outlined above. Here at Farah & Farah our experienced car accident lawyers are committed to zealously fighting for our clients’ rights and would be happy to fight for you. Contact our Jacksonville office today via our online contact form.

Posted in: Auto Accident

Takata Pleads Guilty to Criminal Wrongdoing Over Its Airbags

By Farah & Farah on March 2, 2017

Sixteen Americans have lost their lives due to defective air bags and now we know what those lives were worth.

Japanese auto parts maker, Takata agreed to a $1 billion fine to settle criminal felony charges that the company concealed the defects in millions of air bag inflators over a 15-year period. 

The decision occurred in a Detroit federal courtroom on the last day of February after Takata struck a deal with the Department of Justice.

The problem is in the ammonium nitrate-based airbag inflator. It causes the airbag to inflate with too much force, sending metal shards into the passenger cabin and its inhabitants. 

In pleading guilty to criminal wrongdoing, Takata admitted it provided misleading test reports to automakers.

Included in the settlement is a $25 million criminal penalty and $125 million for victims.  Also Takata must pay $850 million to the car companies as restitution.

Takata’s chief finance officer blamed the actions of certain employees as “deeply inappropriate.”

So far 42 million vehicles are being recalled in the U.S. Approximately 180 injuries have occurred along with the 16 deaths.  All but one of the deaths occurred in Honda vehicles, reports Reuters.

Other automakers involved include Toyota, Ford, Nissan and BMW, which have conducted 31 million vehicle recalls over the issue since 2008.

All automakers purchased Takata airbags for their vehicles, despite their awareness that they posed a danger.

“These automakers acted recklessly by putting price ahead of consumer safety, says Eddie Farah of Farah & Farah. 

Those six automakers are the subject of lawsuits by consumers who allege they kept using airbags they knew were defective.

Consumers should check NHTSA to find out if their vehicle is affected by the Takata air bag recalls.

Is There a Driver in that Car? Florida Leads Nation in Lax Driverless Car Laws

By Farah & Farah on March 1, 2017

You’ve seen stories about driverless cars around the country.

The Department of Transportation issued guidelines for safety of passengers in driverless cars after a Florida driver, who relied on autopilot, crashed his Tesla into a tractor-trailer with fatal results. 

Despite that setback, Florida lawmakers are eliminating roadblocks to the new technology with the state ridding itself of a requirement that self-driving cars be on our roads for testing purposes only. 

Florida’s love with driverless cars began five years ago when Florida state senator, Jeff Brandes, invited two Google self-driving cars to Tallahassee. He announced it was an “education campaign to get people to understand that this is the future.” 

Since then, the Florida legislature has passed HB 7027 that allows fully automatic vehicles on our state roads without a driver. Florida now allows anyone with a driver’s license to be behind the wheel of a self-driving car for any purpose, even if they are operating the car on autopilot, as long as they are capable of bringing it to a full stop.

The theory is that a vehicle’s occupant can relax and tend to business, like talk on the cellphone, rather than attend to the dreary drudgery of driving. Never mind that mass transit, trains and buses also allow a passenger to relax while putting fewer vehicles on our already crowded roads.

But that makes too much sense. 

The first state to pass legislation generally becomes a model for the remainder of the country, so all eyes are on Florida, especially in the area of liability.    

For example, who is responsible when a driverless car goes haywire – the driver or the technology? 

Manufacturers such as Ford, Google, BMW, Volvo, among others, argue that the autonomous technology advances will reduce human-error that causes nearly 40,000 traffic deaths every year.    

That remains to be seen, but there are indications consumers, injured by the driverless technology, may have to seek compensation from a common insurance pool rather than lay fault with a manufacturer. 

Already, manufacturers want the government to preempt or prevent product liability claims from being filed after an accident with one of these vehicles. The theory is if there was federal premarket approval of the technology, tort claims against the automakers should not be allowed.

Not only does that shut the courthouse door to you and me but it relies on taxpayers to pick up the tab for injuries and deaths allowing manufacturers to escape any responsibility. 

That’s a sweet deal for them, but very bad for the rest of us.

Uninsured Drivers Who Cause Car Accidents in Florida

By Farah & Farah on January 15, 2017

Although every motorist driving in Florida is legally required to carry insurance, the truth of the matter is that there are many uninsured motorists using Florida’s roadways everyday. In fact, according to the Florida Insurance Council, Florida has among the highest uninsured motorists rates in the United States with an estimated 25 percent of motorists driving illegally without insurance. Additionally, many more drivers have insurance but are “underinsured,” meaning that their liability limits turn out not to be sufficient to cover their bills after an accident. Because uninsured and underinsured drivers are so prevalent, car accident attorneys in Florida have their hands full providing legal representation to car accident victims after an uninsured driver causes a crash. This article outlines the need to know legal basics that apply when an uninsured driver causes a car accident in Florida; however, car accident victims who are struggling to obtain the compensation that they are legally entitled to should consult with a local attorney.

Legally Mandated Car Insurance

In Florida, every driver is legally required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ website notes that drivers must have full liability coverage that includes minimum limits of bodily injury liability of $10,000 per person, $20,000 per crash, $10,000 property damage liability per crash, and personal injury protection limits of $10,000 per person per crash, as of the time that this article was written. Florida drivers who fail to carry the required PIP insurance can be fined and have their license, vehicle registration, and/or vehicle tag suspended. Despite these potential penalties many drivers fail to obtain Florida’s requisite insurance, either because the driver is from out of state, he or she can’t afford the insurance, or they simply choose not to purchase the insurance because they feel that the risk is worth it.

How to Collect Compensation After Being Hit by an Uninsured Driver

Determining how you will be compensated after being hit by an uninsured driver depends in large part on which state you are in. In the United States there are 12 states that are “no-fault” insurance states while the remaining 38 states are classified as “tort” states. Here we will focus on how compensation is collected in a no-fault state as this is the system that is in place in Florida.

In a no-fault insurance state the default option for receiving compensation after a car accident is to collect payment from your own insurance company, regardless of who was at fault for causing the accident and whether or not the other party is an uninsured motorist. Personal injury protection insurance is typically designed to cover 80 percent of your medical bills and expenses, leaving the remaining 20 percent of your expenses to be covered by the other driver’s insurance. However, if the other driver is either uninsured or underinsured it can be tricky to recover this remaining 20 percent. One option is to sue the uninsured driver, but it may be difficult to collect if the at-fault driver is lacking in assets. However, if the at-fault driver was working at the time of the accident then a court may be willing to hold their employer vicariously liable for the damages that their employee caused. An experienced car accident attorney will be able to assess your case and determine your chances of recovering the compensation that you’re seeking.

How to Protect Yourself Against Uninsured Motorists: Uninsured Motorist Coverage

There are several ways in which you can help protect yourself against uninsured motorists in Florida. The first step you should take is to ensure that your own insurance policy complies with our state’s minimum PIP insurance requirements. The next step is to obtain uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. This special type of insurance protects you, and generally also any relative who lives with you, financially in the event that you or your relative gets into an accident where the other driver is either uninsured or underinsured. For example, if you are involved in an accident where your claim against an underinsured motorist is worth $50,000 but the underinsured motorist who caused the accident (aka the at-fault motorist) only has a $25,000 policy, if you have UM coverage then your uninsured motorist insurance company will cover the difference and write you a check for the remaining $25,000.

Please note that divers in Florida are not required to carry uninsured motorist insurance, but that your insurance company is required to offer UM coverage to you and must receive your denial in writing if you decline the coverage. It should also be noted that uninsured motorist coverage, like other forms of insurance, is offered at different coverage levels so be sure to select the insurance level that makes the most sense for you and your family.

Important Tip: No matter what type of insurance you have, it is never a good idea to sign any liability release without first consulting with your insurance company and/or car accident attorney. Sometimes an uninsured at-fault party will try to get you to sign away your rights after a car crash, but doing so directly after an accident is almost never in your best interest.

Need Legal Advice After an Uninsured Motorist Accident?

Collecting compensation from an uninsured motorist after a car accident in Florida can be extremely difficult, but having a competent lawyer by your side can make this trying process much more manageable. If you have mounting medical bills and need access to the compensation that you are legally entitled to, contact the experienced car accident attorneys at Farah & Farah today. Our dedicated auto accident attorneys in Florida will evaluate your case during a free initial consultation, discuss the likely outcome of the case with you, and get started on your case without delay.

Posted in: Auto Accident

What Causes Jacksonville Automobile Accidents?

By on August 12, 2016

Automobile accidents in Jacksonville are unfortunately an all-too-common occurrence. Hearing the sirens of police and fire officials racing to the scene of an accident has become part of the sounds of daily living. However, when you or your loved one suffer injuries in such a crash, you’ll need the help and support of legal professionals to help evaluate legal rights and remedies.

Common Causes of Car Accidents

  • Distracted driving is a significant problem. With all the latest and greatest advances in technology comes the additional risk posed by a driver whose attention is diverted, even if only for a second. Texting and driving, making phone calls and even using in-dash entertainment systems can make for  a dangerous (and in some cases illegal) situation. Other distractions can include passenger behaviors or external attention getting situations, eating or drinking while driving, or even putting on makeup (yes, this happens). It is critical that drivers be able to focus on providing safe and secure transportation for themselves and their passengers.
  • Impaired driving is another cause of many accidents. While a driver may think he or she has not had enough alcohol to affect their judgment or reaction time, the reality is that it does not require much in the way of alcohol or drugs to affect a driver’s response time. The safest thing is always to have a designated driver. Read the rest »

Posted in: Auto Accident

Commonly Broken Bones in Jacksonville Car Accidents

By on May 31, 2016

Americans spend such a significant amount of their lives in cars that we often forget how dangerous they can be. Even with modern safety features like safety belts and airbags, there’s no getting around the fact that cars weigh an average of two tons, are composed mainly of steel, and can travel at high speeds. This is why car accidents so often result in serious injury and sometimes death.

Broken and shattered bones are a common injury suffered in a car accident. The following are some of the bones that most often broken in Jacksonville vehicle collisions: Read the rest »

Posted in: Auto Accident

Injured Uber Driver Suing Snapchat

By on May 26, 2016

It was in an Atlanta suburb, about 11 p.m. on September 10th, 2015. An 18 year old woman finished her shift at a local restaurant. She and a few co-workers piled into her father’s Mercedes C230. As she was driving away, the young woman apparently pulled out her phone and opened up the app Snapchat. Read the rest »

Posted in: Auto Accident, Uber

What Does Comparative Negligence Mean in My Valdosta Car Accident Case?

By on February 15, 2016

Georgia is a comparative negligence, or comparative fault, state. This means that more than one party can share fault for an accident or injury. Comparative fault is a legal concept that limits the amount of damages recoverable in a claim to the amount of fault of the other party.

An example of this would be: Say Driver 8 runs a yellow light and crashes into Driver 7. But, as it turns out, Driver 7 was still in the intersection because he was texting his girlfriend. Both Driver 8 and Driver 7 were performing illegal acts at the time of the accident. In such a case, the court or a judge would have to assign a percentage of fault to both drivers. If it was decided that Driver 8 was 70 percent at fault for the accident and Driver 7 was 30 percent at fault, Driver 7 could only recoup 70 percent of the total damages he suffered in the accident. Read the rest »

Posted in: Auto Accident

Red Light Cameras Might Get Shut Off in Florida

By on January 29, 2016

Florida Traffic CamerasWe’re a stop closer to not having red light cameras in the Sunshine State. Recently, a Florida House committee approved HB 4027, a bill that would ban local governments from using red light cameras to cite drivers for not properly stopping at intersections. HB 4027 looks to repeal a 2010 law that authorized statewide use of the red lights cameras.

Critics have argued for years that the cameras don’t improve traffic safety, and that local governments rely on money from tickets generated by red light citations. In 2015, Florida red lights cameras led to nearly 250,000 tickets being written statewide for right hand turns on a red light. These citations were worth $40 million to the state. This is despite a state vehicular law that prohibits tickets being written for turns like these made “in a careful and prudent manner.” Read the rest »

Posted in: Auto Accident

Florida Declares Uber Drivers Independent Contractors (Not Employees)

By on December 27, 2015

In an interview with Insurance Journal, Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty said that “transportation network companies” (TNCs) like Uber have gaps in insurance coverage consumers should beware of. He was talking in relation to a lawsuit brought against Uber that’s been in the news recently. Read the rest »

Posted in: Auto Accident

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The attorneys of Farah & Farah in Jacksonville, Florida have experience with personal injury, medical malpractice, product liability, workers’ compensation, social security, injury and negligence lawsuits. Eddie Farah and our team of Jacksonville attorneys are proud to represent working people and families throughout the country.

*Disclaimer: Not all results are provided and not all clients have provided testimonials, the results are not necessarily representative of results obtained by the lawyer, and a prospective client’s individual facts and circumstances may differ from the matter in which the results and the testimonials are provided.

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