How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Florida?
Anyone who has been injured due to someone else’s negligence and is interested in filing a personal injury lawsuit in Florida should be warned: personal injury lawsuits in Florida can only be filed within a limited timeframe thanks to our state’s statutes of limitations. How long you have to file your claim depends on a few different factors, the most important of which have been briefly outlined below. However, it is important to note that in Florida there are some limited exceptions to the statutes of limitations discussed in this article. Therefore it is very important to discuss the specifics of your case with a local personal injury lawyer in order to accurately calculate how much time is left on your specific claim’s statute of limitations clock.
Personal Injury Statutes of Limitations in Florida
A statute of limitations (SOL) is simply a statute that prescribes a limited time period within which a certain type of action (or lawsuit) can be filed. After the prescribed time period has passed the claim (or the charge if we are talking about a criminal statute of limitations) will generally be barred outright from being filed.
General Personal Injury Claims: Florida’s main personal injury statute of limitations is contained in section 95.11 of the Florida Statutes and provides that personal injury plaintiffs have four years from the date on which they were injured within which to file a civil lawsuit in Florida. Florida courts will generally refuse to hear claims filed outside of this four year period, however, some exceptions are recognized in the interest of justice. For example, under the “discovery rule” an injured plaintiff who did not discover that they were injured at the time of their accident may be allowed to file a personal injury claim outside of the standard four year statute of limitations window if it was reasonable that the discovery of their injury was delayed. Additionally, a personal injury statute of limitations clock may be tolled (i.e. paused or delayed) in Florida under a few other limited circumstances (for example if the injured party was a minor at the time of the accident), but these exceptions are very narrow and should not be relied upon if at all possible.
Medical Malpractice: Section 95.11 of the Florida Statutes also prescribes a more restrictive statute of limitations for some medical malpractice personal injury cases. The law states that medical malpractice lawsuits must be filed in Florida within two years of the date on which the injury at issue was, or reasonably should have been, discovered. Additionally, Florida state also imposes a statute of repose which prohibits medical malpractice claims from being filed more than four years after the date on which the alleged malpractice occurred, regardless of when the injury was, or should have been, discovered. Specifically, if some sort of fraud, concealment, or intentional misrepresentation prevented the plaintiff from discovering their injury, then the Florida medical malpractice statute of limitations can be extended two years from the date on which the injury should have reasonably been discovered, so long as the claim is not filed more than seven years after the date on which the alleged malpractice occurred.
Get Your Claim Started by Contacting a Local Personal Injury Attorney Today
One of the biggest mistakes that a personal injury plaintiff can make is sitting too long on his or her claim. If you think that you may want to file a personal injury claim in Florida, don’t risk having your claim barred by a statute of limitations, contact Piccin & Glynn, Attorneys at Law, today. One of our experienced personal injury attorneys would be happy to assess how long you have left to file your claim and discuss your legal options with you during a free initial consultation. Our Ocala office can be reached at (352) 351-5446.