It is not uncommon for people hurt in car crashes to file personal injury lawsuits asserting claims against the party responsible for the collision. It is critical that any claims for damages are filed within the applicable statute of limitations, but in cases in which accidents occur in states other than Florida, it is not always clear when the statute of limitations runs. In a recent Florida opinion, a court discussed what factors are considered in determining what statute of limitations applies in a case in which the accident happened in Georgia, but the plaintiffs filed their lawsuit in Florida. If you were injured in a car accident, you may be owed damages, and it is in your best interest to meet with a trusted Florida personal injury attorney to assess your options.
The Subject Accident
Allegedly, the plaintiff husband was injured in a car crash caused by the defendant. The accident happened in Georgia, but the plaintiff husband treated his injuries in Florida, where he resided. He and his wife ultimately filed a personal injury action in a Florida federal court, seeking damages for negligence and loss of consortium. The defendant, who was a resident of Michigan, moved to dismiss the plaintiffs’ claims, arguing that Georgia law applied and under the applicable statute of limitations, the plaintiffs’ claims were time barred.
Evaluating Which State’s Laws Apply
Ultimately, the court found that the Georgia statute of limitations applied to the plaintiff husband’s claims, but the Florida statute of limitations applied to the plaintiff wife’s claims. Thus, the plaintiff’s husband’s claims were dismissed, but the plaintiff wife was permitted to proceed. The court stated that in evaluating which state’s laws apply, a Florida federal court will employ the most significant relationship test. In other words, the court will assess which state has a more substantial relationship to the injury in question. In doing so, the court will examine numerous factors, including the applicable policies of the forum, the needs of the interstate system, uniformity of results, and justified expectations.
A court will also weigh where the harm occurred, where the parties live, and where their relationship is centered. Under this approach, courts generally find that the laws of the state where the harm occurred should be applied. As the accident in the subject case happened in Georgia, the court ultimately found that Georgia’s statute of limitations applied to the plaintiff husband’s claims. The court noted, though, that the plaintiff wife’s harm happened in Florida. As such, her claims were not time barred and were not dismissed.
Speak to a Seasoned Florida Attorney
Car accidents can cause substantial damages, and people hurt in collisions may be able to recover significant damages. If you suffered injuries in a collision, you should speak to a lawyer about your rights. Jarrett Blakeley is a seasoned car accident attorney who is adept at helping injured parties fight to protect their interests, and if you engage his services, he will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can reach Mr. Blakeley at (800) 602-5000 or through the form online to set up a meeting.