Understanding the Florida Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

personal injury statute of limitations floridaA statute of limitations is a period during which you must file your case.

The Florida statute of limitations for a typical personal injury case, such as a car accident or trip and fall, is generally four years. However, it varies depending on the type of injury.

A statute of limitations prevents a potential plaintiff from threatening someone with a lawsuit for an indefinite period. It also ensures more reliable witnesses and a faster resolution to your case.

The personal injury attorneys at Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon recommend filing your case as soon as possible because Florida’s laws are so complex.

You will not receive compensation for your injuries if you don’t file your case before the statute of limitations runs.

You should contact a Florida personal injury attorney today to help you file your case within the applicable statute of limitations.

Statutes of Limitations for Specific Types of Florida Personal Injury Cases

Florida law provides different statutes of limitation depending on the type of personal injury case. Here are the statutes of limitation for the most common types of personal injury cases in Florida.

Car Accident

The statute of limitations for car accident cases is generally four years. However, it can become complicated.

You have four years from the date of your accident to file your case if the other person was at fault in causing it.

Additionally, it is important to understand Florida’s 14-day accident law and whether it applies to your case. A Florida personal injury attorney can help you navigate the complex statute of limitations rules surrounding Florida car accident cases.

Motorcycle Accident

If you were injured in a motorcycle accident in Florida, you have four years from the date of the accident to file your case.

Slip and Fall Injury

Similarly, you have four years to file your case if you are the victim of a slip and fall injury.

Product Liability

If you were injured as a result of a defective product and the product did not cause death, you have four years to file your case.

Medical Malpractice

The statute of limitations in Florida for a medical malpractice case is two years. This means that you have only two years from the date of your injury resulting from a medical professional’s negligence to file your case.

This time may be extended up to an additional two years if you did not discover your injury right away. But you still must file your case within four years of the procedure that caused your injury.

Wrongful Death

Likewise, the statute of limitations in Florida for wrongful death cases is two years.

For example, if a motorcycle accident, slip and fall injury, or defective product resulted in death you have only two years to file your case.

How to Calculate the Time for Filing a Florida Personal Injury Case

In Florida, the date of your injury and the date you discovered your injury generally determine when the statute of limitations begins to run.

Date of Injury

Most of the time, the Florida personal injury statute of limitations begins running from the date when the underlying accident or injury occurred.

If this is the case, then you must file your claim within four years from the date of the injury for most personal injury cases.

For medical malpractice, you must file within two years from the date of the injury, and for wrongful death, you must file within two years from the date of death.

Date of Discovery

Sometimes, you may not discover your injury until some time after the accident occurs. In these types of cases, the statute of limitations begins running when you discover or reasonably should have discovered your injury.

Some examples where this could arise include traumatic brain injury or asbestos cases.

However, the discovery rule may be limited by statutes of repose. These put an absolute time limit on filing, even in circumstances where it may be difficult to discover your injury right away.

For example, one Florida statute of repose prevents most victims from filing medical malpractice claims more than four years after the date of injury, even if the injury is discovered later.

For example, if a medical procedure caused an internal injury but you were unaware of it because the symptoms didn’t show up until six years after the procedure, you will be too late to file your case.

Tolling

In some circumstances, Florida law permits you to toll, or pause, the statute of limitations. Tolling applies to situations beyond your control that prevent you from bringing your case.

For example, the statute of limitations may be tolled during a period of time where the defendant has fled the State of Florida or during a period when you are under 18 or mentally incapacitated and do not have a parent or guardian capable of protecting your interests.

However, if the statute is tolled because you are a minor or mentally incapacitated, a Florida statute of repose still prevents you from filing your claim any more than seven years after the date of your injury (with limited exceptions in medical malpractice cases).

How Can a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer Help Me?

A Florida personal injury lawyer can help you understand the tricky statute of limitations rules surrounding the different types of personal injury cases.

The attorneys at Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon will provide individual focus and attention to your case using our resources as part of one of the Gulf Coast’s largest law firms. Call us today for your free consultation.