Guide to the Florida Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
You have legal rights when you suffer injuries in a personal injury accident because of another party’s actions.
If you file a personal injury claim with the defendant’s insurance company and cannot reach a settlement, it may be time to file a lawsuit. However, you must not miss the filing deadline while trying to negotiate a settlement.
The Florida personal injury statute of limitations dictates the various filing deadlines and potential exceptions. Understanding what deadline applies in your case can be complicated, so you need a Florida personal injury attorney to represent you.
Statute of Limitations in Florida for Personal Injury Claims
If you research the deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Florida, you might see that it’s four years. However, certain types of personal injury accidents have different filing deadlines.
Other circumstances could decrease or increase that filing time too. That is why it’s crucial to have an attorney representing you. Wendy Doyle-Palumbo is an attorney who understands just how confusing it can be to figure out the correct date.
These are a few examples of the general statute of limitations for varying types of personal injury civil cases:
- Motor vehicle accidents— four years,
- Medical malpractice—two years,
- Defective products—four years,
- Wrongful death—two years,
- Assault and Battery—two years, and
- Workers’ compensation claims—two years.
Remember, these are only general examples. Other circumstances can impact the filing deadline in your injury claim.
What Happens If You Miss the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury in Florida?
Missing the deadline to file could result in the end of your case, even if you are actively negotiating a settlement with the defendant’s insurance company.
Once the deadline passes, the insurance company will ask for proof that you preserved the statute of limitations before continuing any settlement discussions. They are under no legal obligation to continue if you cannot present evidence.
The judge will likely dismiss your case if you miss the deadline and try to file a lawsuit with the court. Unless there are some extraordinary circumstances, judges typically do not override the legal filing deadline.
When Does the Clock Start Running for the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations?
Another potentially confusing element is determining when the clock starts running on your Florida injury case. Again, the time can vary based on individual circumstances and the type of case.
Here are several examples of how the starting date can vary:
- Date of injury—The clock starts running on the date of injury for many cases, such as car accidents or slip and fall accidents.
- Discovery of injury—If you are the victim of medical malpractice, you may not know right away. You may discover the injury months later.
- Date of death—Wrongful death claims don’t begin until the victim dies from their accident-related injuries. Their death could be weeks after the underlying accident or even a year down the road.
- Tolling—Some cases involve situations beyond the plaintiff’s control that toll or temporarily stop the clock. Tolling the statute essentially pauses the case for a certain amount of time.
Rather than figure out the filing deadline on your own, speak with Wendy Doyle-Palumbo. Our office can review the facts of your personal injury claim and advise you on the proper Florida personal injury statute of limitations.
Understanding Why the Florida Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Might Be Tolled
Florida law outlines some of the reasons for tolling (or pausing) the applicable filing deadline.
Potential examples include:
- The injured party is deemed mentally or physically incapacitated, such as a temporary mental illness or unable to communicate due to the injury.
- The defendant (the responsible party) left Florida sometime after the accident but before the injured party filed a lawsuit.
- The defendant attempted to conceal their identity in Florida, such as changing their name to avoid the lawsuit.
Your attorney can explain whether any of these circumstances impact your case.
Other Reasons the Statute of Limitations Might Be Extended or Shortened
As previously noted, the type of personal injury case you have impacts the length of time you have to file. Someone under 18 years of age has additional time under Florida law. The law gives them seven years after the date of their injury or until the standard statute in their case, whichever is longer.
Filing deadlines on medical malpractice cases are rarely ever straightforward as these cases have many nuances. The discovery rule gives victims two years from the date of discovery, which could be beyond the original two years.
However, you only have four years total after the actual cause of injury. If you can prove the healthcare provider committed fraud to conceal the injury, the deadline could be extended.
Cases against a government agency are subject to entirely different deadlines. In some cases, you only have six months to file a claim with the agency; otherwise, they could deny your claim.
Contact an Experienced Florida Personal Injury Lawyer
Wendy Doyle-Palumbo understands how confusing the entire legal process can be, especially the Florida personal injury statute of limitations. However, you don’t have to figure things out alone. With over 30 years of legal experience, our firm is here to help.
Unlike many other personal injury lawyers in Florida, we don’t accept a high volume of cases, nor do we rush to resolve cases quickly and move on to the next. Wendy genuinely cares about every client and works diligently to achieve the best possible outcome.
If you sustained injuries in an accident caused by another party, let us help. We will handle all negotiations with the defendant’s insurance company and ensure we file the lawsuit within the proper statute of limitations. Contact our office online or call (727) 233-2134 today to schedule a free consultation to learn more.