How long do you have to file your personal injury case in Florida?
Serious injuries cause disability, loss of income and even death. When the injuries suffered were due to negligence, it is only fair the injured person gets compensated. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), an American is injured every second by a preventable incident.
The good news is that under Florida’s personal injury laws, you can sue the party responsible. However, you have a limited window to file the lawsuit. This time limit is known as the “statute of limitations.”
Here is a complete guide to the Florida statute of limitations for different personal injuries.
Statute of limitations varies based on several factors
These time limits are put in place to ensure that lawsuits are brought before the court in a reasonable time. This expiration date ensures that no evidence is lost. In Florida, the statute of limitations varies depending on several factors. These include:
- The nature of the claim
- When the clocks start
- The parties involved, whether private or public
If you fail to file the case before the deadline, your suit will be barred forever.
Medical malpractice statute of limitations
Medical malpractice occurs when a physician, hospital or medical professional causes an injury to a patient due to negligence or omission. While some medical malpractices injuries manifest immediately, others take a while to take effect. For this reason, medical malpractices have 2 different statutes of limitations.
Under Florida Statute 95.11(4) (b), victims of medical malpractice have 2 years to file the claim from the date of injury. However, in some cases, victims may discover the injuries years later. In such cases, the statute of limitations is “tolled,” or paused. You can still file the lawsuit within 2 years from the date of discovery.
Child victims have 4 years from the date of injury or discovery.
Auto accident statute of limitations
Motor vehicle accidents are 1 of the leading causes of death in America. The majority of road accidents are due to driver error. Anyone who suffers an injury as a result of a negligent driver who can seek personal injury claims. These same laws apply to motorcycle accidents and truck wrecks.
The injured person has 4 years from the date of the accident to file the lawsuit.
However, if the claim is against an insurance company, the statute of limitations can be extended to 5 years. Such a trial falls under the Florida statute of limitations of property damage.
Product liability (defective product) statute of limitations
Manufacturers of defective products can be sued for negligence, strict liability and breach of warranty. Under Florida statutes Section 95.11, product liability based on the theory of negligence, breach of warranty, nuisance or strict liability must begin within 4 years.
For defective products, the time starts running after the discovery of the injury or when the discovery should have been made with due diligence.
Premises liability statute of limitations
The owner of a property or a tenant is responsible for creating safe working and living conditions, including proper lighting and fire safety. Whether you are an invitee or a licensee, the property owner is responsible for any injuries suffered while on the premises. This is referred to as premises liability.
The statute of limitations is 4 years, which starts running from the date of the accident.
Wrongful death statute of limitations
Under Florida statutes 768.19, family members can file a lawsuit seeking compensation for the death caused by a wrongful act, breach of contract or negligence. Although the action is submitted by the estate representatives, it is done on behalf of the deceased.
Florida’s statute of limitations for wrongful death requires the lawsuit to be filed within 2 years of the death. However, the deadline can be tolled if the defendant conceals the cause of death.
Assault and battery statute of limitations
Battery refers to the use of force to cause physical harm. On the other hand, assault is the threat or attempt to inflict personal injury. Under Florida Section 95.11(3) (0), the victims have 4 years from the date of the incident to file the lawsuit. However, the longer you wait, the harder it is to prove your case.
Dog bite statute of limitations
Dog bites can cause bodily harm and may even lead to death. Under Florida statute section 767.04, dog owners are supposed to prevent their dogs from injuring others. According to Florida dog bite laws, victims can sue under strict liability, negligence and intentional torts.
As with other premises liability cases, dog bite victims have 4 years from the date of the bite to file a lawsuit.
Exceptions to the statute of limitations
For most personal injuries, the clock starts ticking from the date of the injury. Failure to file your lawsuit within the time limit automatically disqualifies the case. However, there are circumstances when the clock may be paused or stopped altogether.
Here are a few of the rare exceptions to the personal injury statute of limitations:
- Discovery. Not all injuries are apparent from the onset. The discovery rules stop the clock and only begin counting when the victim discovers the injury.
- Tolling. This means that the deadline is extended due to exceptional circumstances. The statute of limitations can be tolled if:
- the defendant is out of the state,
- the defendant can’t be served because they are hiding or using a different name, or
- the plaintiff is a minor at the time of the injury. However, the case must be filed within 8 years or when they attain majority.
Our Tampa personal injury attorneys can help you meet important deadlines
Florida’s statute of limitations on personal injury claims is in place to protect both parties. However, the defendant has more to lose as more time passes. This is why you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Don’t wait; contact Lorenzo & Lorenzo today and get the compensation you deserve.