You’ll often hear that quick action is essential after you’ve been hurt in an accident, but you may not fully understand the reason why. Time is of the essence because of Florida’s statute of limitations, a legal concept that places restrictions on how long you have to file a claim in a personal injury case. While it’s easy to say what that time period is – four years – the statute is actually more complicated than you’d expect. For example, the time limitation is shorter than four years for claims against most governmental entities and specific notices must be filed before suit can be filed. An Ocala personal injury lawyer can provide details, but some answers to frequently asked questions should cover the basics.
What does Florida’s statute of limitations mean? The law is essentially a deadline, requiring you to file a lawsuit in court within four years. If you fail to initiate litigation before the statute expires, you’re forever barred from recovering compensation – subject to some exceptions listed below. The statute of limitations applies in all personal injury actions based upon negligence or intentional conduct, including:
- Motor vehicle collisions;
- Slip and falls incidents, and other accidents due to dangerous conditions on property;
- Workplace accidents that aren’t covered by workers’ comp laws; and,
- Intentional attacks, including assault, battery, sex crimes, and other offenses.
There’s a different statute of limitations that applies in a medical malpractice case: You have just two years to file your lawsuit if you were hurt because of a medical error.
When does the statute start to run? The clock starts ticking on the date of the accident in which you were injured. However, as it pertains to med mal cases, the law recognizes that you may not even realize that you suffered bodily harm until months or years after. Therefore, there is a “discovery” rule in Florida. Therefore, there is a rule that may allow the medical malpractice claim to be brought:
- When the incident of malpractice occurs; OR,
- When you discover the injuries or should have discovered them by exercising due diligence.
Medical malpractice cases can be brought more than four years after the negligence in rare cases that likely will not apply to most cases. It is important to seek advice immediately if you suspect any medical negligence.
Are there any exceptions to the statute of limitations? Yes, the statute doesn’t start to run on the date of the personal injury accident if the claimant is a minor. The four-year period begins the date that victim turns 18 years old. Plus, there’s an exception where you cannot find the person or entity that caused your injuries. If a party is concealed or absent from the state, the statute won’t run during this time period.
An Ocala, FL Personal Injury Attorney Can Explain Your Rights
Though this information may help you understand the basics about Florida’s statute of limitations, there are additional issues that could affect your rights. To learn more about them, please contact Piccin & Glynn, to set up a case evaluation. You can call 352-558-8480 or reach out online to schedule your appointment at our office in Ocala, FL.