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Guide to Florida’s Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

florida personal injury statute of limitations

You may find yourself ready to file a personal injury claim, but it is essential to note that time is of the essence. Statutes of limitations are time restraints imposed on lawsuits, giving a plaintiff a specified amount of time to file their claim. If you let time run out, it may be too late to receive the compensation you need for your injuries.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury and seeks to file a personal injury lawsuit, Grossman Attorneys at Law is ready to help you.

What Is a Personal Injury Claim?

As the name indicates, a personal injury claim arises when a victim suffers an injury. Personal injury claims aim to hold the responsible individual or entity accountable for causing the victim harm. Additionally, personal injury lawsuits allow the victim to recover compensation for their injuries.

The Statute of Limitations Depends on the Type of Case

Under Florida Statutes section 95.11(3)(a), the typical statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Florida is four years from the date of injury. The date of injury is the date an accident or incident occurred that caused an injury. While four years is the usual time restriction, the amount of time you’ll have to file your claim highly depends on the particular personal injury claim.

Car Accident

If you are injured in a car accident, you will have four years from the date of the accident to file your lawsuit. The same time limit is imposed for claims for damages. However, if the victim passes away after a car accident, the claim would then be for wrongful death.

Wrongful Death

If a victim dies after an accident or at the hands of another, the victim’s survivors can file a wrongful death claim. The statute of limitations in Florida for wrongful death claims is two years from the date of the death.

Truck Accident

As with a car accident claim, if you suffer injuries after a truck accident, you will have four years from the date of the accident to file your lawsuit for financial recovery.

Construction Accident

After sustaining injuries from a construction site accident in Florida, you have four years from the date of the accident to file your personal injury claim. However, if your accident occurred at work, you have only two years from the date of injury to file a workers’ compensation claim.

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice claims arise when a victim suffers an injury due to a hospital or medical professional’s negligence or omission. In Florida, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is two years.

Nonetheless, you may extend the statute of limitations for up to two more years if you did not discover the injury within the original two-year timeframe. Therefore, medical malpractice lawsuits allow a victim a total of up to four years to discover the injury and file a claim.

Catastrophic Injury

Catastrophic injuries are usually those leaving the victim with significant, lasting injuries and permanent disabilities. The statute of limitations for catastrophic injuries in Florida will vary depending on the cause of the accident. However, it is typically four years from the date of the incident.

Exceptions to the Florida Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

While the typical statutes of limitations for personal injury in Florida are those listed above, there could be exceptions, allowing an extension of time.

The Discovery Rule

Injuries are not always immediately apparent. At times, injuries begin to surface with the passage of time. In these cases, the statute of limitations would not begin to run until the victim discovered, or reasonably should have discovered, the injury. 

It is important to keep in mind, however, that Florida has statutes of repose that place an absolute time limit on filing a claim. For example, in a medical malpractice claim, the typical statute of limitations is two years.

But the statute of repose states a victim cannot file their lawsuit more than four years after the discovery of their injury, even if they did not discover their injury until after the four-year time limit had passed.

Tolling

In some instances, you may be allowed to toll, or pause, the statute of limitations. Tolling the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Florida can occur for many reasons under Florida Statutes section 95.051. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • The plaintiff is a minor under 18;
  • The plaintiff is mentally incapacitated;
  • The defendant left the state of Florida before the lawsuit was filed; or
  • The defendant is concealing themselves to avoid the lawsuit.

In cases where the plaintiff is a minor or is mentally incapactiated, the statute of repose does not allow for the claim to be filed more than seven years after the incident. 

What If You Miss the Deadline?

Generally, if the statute of limitations runs out on your case, you will forfeit your right to compensation. While you may still file your lawsuit, it is unlikely to succeed. Upon discovering the statute of limitations has run, the defendant or their attorney can take this matter up with the judge, and the case will likely be thrown out.

For this reason, it is crucial to discuss your case with a personal injury attorney and file your claim in a timely manner to avoid missing your chance to recover for your injuries.

Will Filing Earlier Help Your Case?

It is always wise to discuss your case with a qualified personal injury attorney as soon as possible. This gives your lawyer the time they need to file your claim and build your case. Consulting with an attorney early on can help avoid the statute of limitations running out and making you ineligible for financial recovery.

A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

At Grossman Attorneys at Law, we place significant importance on you, your case, and your need for financial compensation. Our attorneys treat every client with the personalized attention they deserve, providing compassion and fierce advocacy. We are ready to do everything in our power to get you the best possible outcome.

Contact us today, and let’s begin working on your case.

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