How long after an accident doI have to seek help for injuries?

I was standing on passenger side of a friend’s truck with the door open leaning in to talk to him. He was then rear-ended by another car. I was thrown from the impact a good distance. Now a day and a half later I’m finding that I was injured a lot more than I thought at time. I think that I should go to the ER but I have no health insurance. The other driver was at fault. What should I do to cover myself?

Asked on March 9, 2012 under Personal Injury, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

First, you take care of your health--go to a doctor or emergency room if you need one. If you can't recover money from anyone (see below) and can't afford the cost, you will have the option later of filing bankruptcy.

In Florida, it appears that the  "statute of limitations"--or time to bring a lawsuit--for a personal injury action is four years; that means that you could try to sue an at-fault driver (such as the one who rear-ended your friend's car) up to four years after the accident.

Note the following:

1) Only an at-fault driver might be responsible to compensate you--therefore, if you don't know or can't find the at-fault driver (e.g. it was a "hit and run"), there's nobody to pursue for reimbursement.

2) The other driver will be liable only if he or she was at-fault--so, for example, driving carelessly.

3) If you and/or yor friend were doing something dangerous, that undercuts your ability to recover (under the theories of "comparative negligence"--where you compare the parties' relative negligence or carelessness--and "assumption of the risk"--in doing something dangerous, you assume the risk of being injured). So, say your friend was stopped in the middle of the road, not on the side--that is illegal and dangerous. If you then were leaning on/next to a truck parked in a dangerous way, you were doing something dangerous, too, and that will reduce your ability to obtain compensation.


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