Statute of Limitations: Why you Shouldn’t Wait to Consult an Attorney
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Whenever someone is injured in an accident, hurt by the negligence of a professional (such as through medical or legal malpractice), or damaged through breach of contract, there is a limited period of time for the injured party to file a lawsuit. These deadlines are called statutes of limitations, and their purpose is to make sure that claims are not asserted many years after the bad behavior occurred.. Because time is short, it is very important that you consult with an attorney as soon as possible after your injury.
Some injured parties may wait to consult an attorney about filing their claim because they don’t yet know the scope of their injuries, or because they believe their own insurance company will cover the damage. Then, several years down the line, when they’re overwhelmed by medical bills or other issues caused by the malpractice, they finally seek legal advice –only to find that it’s too late, and their claim has expired. It is a sad fact in the law that a claim that is not timely filed is waived: the statute of limitations stands as a bar to that claim forever.
As a practical matter, statutes of limitations make it necessary for someone who has been damaged by the actions of someone else to move reasonably quickly to understand their rights, gather information, and file the claim. If an injured party waits until the end of the statute of limitations period to consider filing a claim, they may find that they don’t have enough time to do everything to complete the filing before time runs out. Even when they hire an accident attorney, that attorney may have insufficient time to do the groundwork necessary before filing the claim if the party has waited too long.
In Florida, most statutes of limitations range from two to four years, for claims arising out of an accident or involving professional negligence, depending on certain factors. If you have been injured or financially damaged by the negligence of another, it is essential that you consult with a qualified attorney as soon as possible, so that your attorney can advise you on what the limitations period is on your claim. Then, instead of wasting those years – and, potentially, losing your claim completely – you can make use of that time to start your physical and financial recovery process.
The Tampa Bay attorneys of Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore fight aggressively to protect the rights of our clients and to ensure that their claims are filed in a timely manner. Click here or call us today at (813) 225-4000 to schedule a free consultation.