How to go about filing a claim against a driver who caused a crash?

I was rear-ended; it was not my fault. My new car was damaged and I was unemployed at the time. I was already stressed out but the crash caused me more stress. Perhaps, pain and suffering. What is the statue of limitations regarding this accident? It happened 3 or 4 months ago. I don’t have a car and the accident has caused me financial difficulties, as well as health problems.

What do you think a reasonable attorney fee would be for filing such a claim? Do companies usually decide to settle out of court for such accidents? If so, what are the odds of a settlement?

Please, Let me know. Thank you very much.

Asked on September 13, 2016 under Personal Injury, Florida


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The property damage claim (cost of repairs to your car) is separate from your personal injury claim.
The statute of limitations in Florida for filing a lawsuit  for property damage is 4 years. 
The statute of limitations in Florida for filing a lawsuit in a personal injury case is 4 years.
Attorneys charge a contingency fee which is a percentage of the amount recovered in a personal injury case.  The percentage is usually 1/3.
The attorney will probably not handle the property damage side of your case because the attorney's fee would come out of the cost of repairs to your car and then there would not be sufficient funds remaining to repair your car.  You can handle the property damage with the at-fault party's insurance carrier with a few phone calls.
Most auto accident cases are settled without filing a lawsuit.  It is not possible to give you the odds of a settlement because it depends on whether the settlement offer is acceptable to you.
Contact the at-fault party's insurance carrier regarding your property damage claim to have your car repaired. While your car is in the repair shop, the at-fault party's insurance carrier should pay for a rental car.
The procedure for your personal injury claim is as follows:Notify the at-fault party's insurance carrier in writing of your personal injury claim.
When you complete your medical treatment and are released by the doctor or are declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary which means having reached a point in your medical treatment where no further improvement is anticipated, obtain your medical bills and medical reports.  Your personal injury claim filed with the at-fault party's insurance carrier should include those items.
Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.
If the case is settled with the at-fault party's insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.
If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the at-fault party's insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault party.
If the case is NOT settled, your lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault party must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

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