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Car Accident Statute of Limitations

October 13, 2010

Question: I was involved in a car accident 4 years ago. There were no witnesses at the time and no one was cited at the accident scene. My vehicle was deemed a total loss, while the other vehicle only had minor damages. I am aware that the statute of limitations in Florida is exactly 4 years. The passenger in the other vehicle is currently trying to sue, the complaint was filed exactly 7 days before the SOL expired. I was not served until 7 days later which is exactly the date which the SOL expired. I can not afford legal help so I plan on answering myself. Is the SOL Expired a valid response to the summons?

Answer: Samira, the statute of limitations for Florida car accidents is four years from the date of the accident. This is based upon Florida Statute section 95.11. As long as the complaint is filed within the four year period, the plaintiff has satisfied their burden of complying with the statute of limitations.

After filing the complaint, the plaintiff has 120 days in which to serve the defendant. Based on the timeline you have described, it appears that this plaintiff has complied with Section 95.11, and obtained service against you within 120 days.

All drivers in Florida are required to have insurance which, among other things, protects them if they get sued for property damage or personal injuries. If you had insurance on the date of the accident, you should immediately send the complaint and summons to your insurance company. In most cases, they will assign and pay for an attorney to defend you in the lawsuit.

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