Personal injury claims in Florida are governed under the Florida Statute of Limitations. These laws determine how long an injured person has to file a lawsuit and take legal action against the responsible party. If you are involved in a personal injury case, such as a pedestrian or auto accident, you have a specific time limit to file a lawsuit.
Can the Statute of Limitations be extended or shortened beyond the general four (4) years?
In some cases, the standard four-year rule for personal injury suits can be extended or shortened. This may occur when:
The Statute of Limitations is shortened in civil injury cases where negligence is not involved to two (2) years.
The Statute of Limitations can also be shortened in specific situations, such as when filing a lawsuit against nursing home abuse or wrongful deaths, which usually have a limit of two (2) years.
For cases involving dangerous or defective products, there is a Statute of Repose that requires the victim to initiate a product liability suit within 12 years of the date the product was sold or manufactured. If the claim involves wrongful death, the injured victim must file a lawsuit within two years of the incident.
How to Determine the Start of the Clock in a Personal Injury Case?
Typically, the Statute of Limitations begins on the date of the injury. A plaintiff may lose their right to compensation if they file their claim after this deadline. However, victims are sometimes unaware of their injuries until well after the event.
Florida courts may decide to commence the clock on the Statute of Limitations on the date the injury was discovered, rather than when the injury occurred. This is applicable in cases such as medical malpractice and sexual abuse.
Courts can also “toll,” or pause, the Statute of Limitations when circumstances make it impossible for the case to proceed. This could occur if a defendant has fled the jurisdiction, there has been a natural catastrophe, or the plaintiff has temporarily become incapacitated.
In wrongful death cases, which generally have a two (2) year Statute of Limitations, the clock begins on the date the death occurs. This could be months or even years after the incident. However, if the victim dies on the day of the injury, then the clock starts on that date. It’s important to note that this two-year rule does not impact the general four-year Statute of Limitations for wrongful death claims.
This post was written by Kelly-Ann Jenkins of Jenkins Law P.L. Kelly-Ann is an insurance claim Lawyer. The information on this site is not intended to and does not offer legal advice, legal recommendations, or legal representation on any matter. Hiring an attorney is an important decision, which should not be based on advertising. You need to consult an attorney for legal advice regarding your situation.
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