You know that feeling you get when you go to take care of something, only to find out that you had just missed the deadline to do so? You think to yourself in frustration, “Why couldn’t I just have checked on this earlier? Why did I procrastinate?”
We like to think that we have all the time in the world to take care of things, but that’s not always the case—especially when it comes to filing a claim for your personal injury case.
In order to save you from that feeling of disappointment and frustration, here’s what you need to know about the statute of limitations in Florida.
Types of statutes of limitations
“Statutes of limitations” are legal time limits or deadlines that are set to make sure lawsuits are resolved within a reasonable timeframe. Below are some of the personal injury situations that need to be filed in a timely manner:
- Medical malpractice — injury due to negligence of a medical facility, doctor or other medical staff.
- Auto accident — accidents and injuries caused by negligent drivers
- Product liability — injuries caused by defective products
- Premises liability — injuries caused by unsafe working or living conditions
- Wrongful death — families seeking damages for death of loved one due to negligence, wrongful acts or breach of contract
- Assault and battery — victims of assault and/or battery
- Dog bite — victims of a dog bite
When does the clock start ticking?
Statutes of limitations are different depending on the type of case and state. For the ones listed above, here are the statutes of limitations in Florida:
- Medical malpractice — 2 years to file a claim from date of injury. If injury is discovered years later, the 2-year time frame will still apply to the date of discovery.
- Auto accident — 4 years to file a claim from date of the accident. If filing against an insurance company, the time frame for filing can be as much as 5 years.
- Product liability — within 4 years of discovery of injury or 4 years from when a discovery should have been made.
- Premises liability — 4 years from date of accident
- Wrongful death — 2 years from date of death
- Assault and battery — 4 years from date of the incident, but the sooner the better
- Dog bite — 4 years from date of the bite
Can you file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired?
There are only a few exceptions to Florida’s statutes of limitations.
Some injuries don’t present themselves until a few years down the road. For these cases, the filing clock is reset to the date of discovery.
Another exception involves “tolling,” which are deadline extensions due to extenuating circumstances. These circumstances may be that the defendant has left the state or could be hiding.
In some cases, the plaintiff was a minor when the injury occurred. In this case, the plaintiff has to file within 8 years or when they are no longer considered a minor.
Time is of the essence when it comes to filing your personal injury claim. The longer you wait, the harder it may be to have the evidence needed to win your case, and you just may miss the filing deadline altogether.
Keep this information about Florida’s statutes of limitations handy, and contact a knowledgeable Florida personal injury attorney to make sure you get the compensation that you deserve.