Statute of Limitations in Florida
In civil cases, the statute of limitations refers to the amount of time that a plaintiff has to either resolve their case or file a lawsuit against the wrongdoing party. The statute of limitations is intended to enforce a time limit or deadline in efforts to promote fairness and a reasonable amount of time in bringing a lawsuit.
While some types of legal matters may not have a statute of limitations such as very serious or violent crimes, however, most do. In Florida, the statute of limitations for civil injury claims, or “torts” as they are referred, are very specific. Personal injury is a type of tort and the statute of limitations in Florida is generally four (4) years. What does this mean for you if you have been involved in an auto accident and sustained injuries, for example? Well, this means that if you intend to pursue an injury claim, you must either settle the claim with the insurance and/or party at fault or file a lawsuit no later than four years from the date of your accident. If four years expires and you have neither settled your claim nor filed a lawsuit, then you may be barred from filing a lawsuit and recovering for your damages.
While wrongful deaths may fall under the category of “torts” as civil wrongdoings, that statute of limitations is different from a claim for personal injuries. In the state of Florida, that statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is two (2) years, meaning that you have two years from the date of death to bring a wrongful death action on behalf of the victim. Read our “Florida Wrongful Death” article to find out about more information on pursuing a wrongful death claim or call us directly at (727)798-5291.
Exceptions That May Extend or Shorten the Statute of Limitations
While Fla. Stat. § 95.11(3)(a) sets the personal injury statute of limitations at four (4) years from the date an accident occurs, there are some exceptions that may extend or shorten the deadline for filing a claim. Some of these exceptions include the following:
- The type of case – even though both personal injury and wrongful death are civil injury claims, they have different statute of limitations.
- The age of the victim – Minors under age eighteen (18) are often granted additional time outside the standard statute of limitations to file claims. Per Fla. Stat. § 95.051, minors have seven (7) years after the date of their injury, or until the end of the standard statute of limitations for their case (whichever is longer) to file a claim.
- The injury – There are instances where injuries or illnesses do not manifest until years or even decades after exposure.
- Claims against the government – There are incidents where victims have sustained injuries due to the negligence of government entities or employees (i.e. injuries resulting from an auto accident involving a government postal truck). Personal injury cases filed against public entities are subject to different rules and procedures than standard injury cases. They may also be subject to a shorter statute of limitations.
The best way to understand and avoid any issues concerning the statute of limitations is to bring your matter to the attention of an experienced personal injury or wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Reach out to your attorneys at Borkovic Law Group by calling us at (727)798-5291.