When you’ve been injured by another person’s negligence, being timely when taking legal action by filing a lawsuit is important. Every personal injury case in Florida involves a statute of limitations, just like in every other state.
After an injury, you must act before the statute of limitations runs out. Our Florida personal injury lawyers at Eltringham Law Group want your case and your voice to be heard. Consider contacting us to begin a case review so we can help your claim move forward expeditiously.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
Think of the statute of limitations as a deadline. It’s a specific allotment of years that your claim must be filed within or you run the risk of forever losing the right to recover for your personal injuries.
Why does the statute of limitations exist? It ensures that cases are resolved in a timely manner. It helps preserve evidence and the memories of witnesses. It also prevents a plaintiff from threatening a potential defendant with a lawsuit for what could become forever.
What if the statute of limitations runs out? If you allow the statute of limitations to pass, you will generally lose the ability to file a lawsuit. The courts are strict about throwing out legal action that isn’t filed before the deadline passes. However, this deadline could be different depending on what type of injury you suffered and the circumstances of your accident.
Florida’s Statute of Limitations for Different Personal Injury Claims
The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Florida can get complicated. Below are the timeframes for common types of personal injuries and defendants that a legal action may be filed against.
Car accident statute of limitations
Florida’s statute of limitations for car accidents is four years from the date that the accident occurred. However, you have 5 years to file suit on an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim in the event that the at-fault driver did not have insurance or did not have sufficient insurance to full compensate you for your injuries and losses. But you should be very mindful of the notice & any other procedural requirements set forth in your own insurance policy that may be much shorter than than the 5 year statute of limitations.
There is a special exception for PIP claims and benefits in Florida, where the deadline to file is five years.
See Florida’s wrongful death statute of limitations below for fatal car accidents.
Premises liability statute of limitations
For an injury at a property in Florida, like a slip and fall accident, the statute of limitations is four years.
Product liability statute of limitations
When a defective product causes you harm, Florida’s product liability statute of limitations is four years.
Medical malpractice statute of limitations
Accidents or errors by medical providers that occur during medical procedures, such as during surgery, are most often under a very strict two-year statute of limitations in Florida.
There are rare exceptions to this particular deadline. If there was any fraud, concealment, or misrepresentation by a medical organization that prevented you from learning about medical malpractice occurring, you have seven years to file a claim. This is called the statute of repose.
Wrongful death statute of limitations
Florida’s statute of limitations for wrongful death is two years.
The statute of limitations begins on the date that an injured individual dies from their accident — not the date of the accident itself.
Statute of limitations for injury claims against the government
These cases involve Florida statute 768.28. The statute establishes that injury victims who were hurt in part by any government owned or operated entity will have three years to file a lawsuit after an injury causing incident. An example is when you get into an accident with or riding on a city bus and it’s the bus driver’s fault.
These claims have a different procedure that, before being eligible to file a lawsuit, the victim must send a statutory notice letter to the state agency that oversees or is otherwise responsible for the negligent actor that hurt you. That notice letter must also be sent to the Florida Department of Financial Services.
Generally, you’ll see that civil personal injury cases involving negligence have a four-year statute of limitations. Unless that time is shortened by statute such as medical negligence and wrongful death claims.
When Does the Statute of Limitations Begin in Florida?
The starting date of the statute of limitations in Florida can be calculated by pinpointing either:
- The date of the accident or when the injury occurred
- The date that an injury was discovered
However, it’s always safer to operate on the basis that the statute starts running from the date of accident or incident date when the injury was inflicted.
The statute of limitations in Florida is tolled (paused) whenever there are extreme circumstances affecting the case. For example, courts can legally suspend the statute of limitations if the victim is a minor or has been deemed mentally incompetent, or if a defendant has fled the state.
Our Attorneys Can Help File Your Case Before Florida’s Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is a good reason to contact a lawyer early after you’ve suffered an injury and are wondering what legal options you have.
The Eltringham Law Group works hard for injury victims in Florida by helping to swiftly prepare your case. We invite you to contact us at our offices in Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale to begin working on your case sooner rather than later.
Get started by calling us or contacting our Florida injury lawyers online today.
Florida Statute of Limitations FAQs
Is there a way to extend the statute of limitations?
There is no way to extend the statute of limitations, but there are exceptions, such as the discovery rule and tolling.
Does the statute of limitations apply during negotiations with the insurance company?
Yes, and this timeframe is not extended while you’re engaged in negotiations over a claim. It’s vital to not let the statute of limitations pass and file a lawsuit if your unresolved case is beginning to approach the deadline.