If you’ve been injured in any accident involving another’s negligence, you are legally entitled to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. However, Florida law requires you to bring a personal injury claim within a certain time. If you don’t, you will almost certainly lose any ability to hold the at-fault party accountable, and, in turn, you may be leaving a lot of much-needed money on the table.
Here at the Blakeley Law Firm, P.A., we want to ensure that accident victims are fairly compensated for everything they’ve been through. And we understand that nothing is more frustrating than learning that you’ve missed your chance to hold a negligent party accountable. So, we’ve put together a list of Florida personal injury statutes of limitations and some of the most common questions related to how long you have to file a personal injury claim.
Motor Vehicle Accidents – 4 years
Dog Bites – 4 years
Assault and Other Intentional Acts – 4 years
Product Liability Claims – 4 years
Slip and Fall Cases – 4 years
As you can see, the vast majority of negligence cases must be filed within four years. However, there are some exceptions to this general rule:
Medical Malpractice Cases
Medical malpractice cases are generally subject to a two-year statute of limitations. However, determining when the statute of limitations starts to run can be complex. Generally, the medical malpractice statute of limitations begins on the day of the medical error, but if the patient didn’t learn of the error until a later date, they have two years from that date. However, medical malpractice cases are subject to a four-year statute of repose, meaning that a case cannot be brought more than four years after the alleged medical error (unless the victim is a minor).
Wrongful Death Claims
Wrongful death lawsuits are subject to a shorter statute of limitations than other negligence cases. Under Florida Statutes § 95.11(4)(d), grieving families have just two years from the date of their loved one to initiate a wrongful death claim.
Sex Abuse Cases
While civil cases involving assault and battery are subject to a four-year statute of limitations, if there are allegations of “abuse,” the statute of limitations is extended to the latter of:
Seven years after the victim turns 18;
Four years after the victim is no longer dependent on the alleged abuser;
Four years after the victim discovers the abuse and the connection between the abuse and their injuries.
Sexual Abuse of a Minor Under 16
Florida law does not impose a statute of limitations for cases involving the sexual battery of a victim under 16. In these cases, the victim can bring the case at any time.
Statute of Limitations Frequently Asked Questions:
- When Does the Statute of Limitations for a Personal Injury Case Begin?
Under Florida Statutes § 95.031, a statute of limitations for a Florida personal injury claim starts at “the time the claim accrues.” In most cases, a claim accrues at the time of injury. In rare cases where someone does immediately recognize that they’ve been injured, such as in some mass tort and product liability cases, the claim may not accrue until the victim learns of their injuries and how they occurred.
- Are There Exceptions to a Statute of Limitations?
Yes, several exceptions can extend the period during which an accident victim can file a lawsuit. For example, if a would-be defendant assumes another name to avoid receiving service, the statute of limitations will not start until the victim learns of their identity. Similarly, the statute of limitations is tolled when the would-be defendant is not in Florida or hiding within the state to prevent service.
- Does Florida Law Automatically Extend a Statute of Limitations for Minor Victims?
Florida law provides for a longer statute of limitations in certain cases., such as those involving sexual abuse and medical malpractice. However, generally, state law does not automatically toll the statute of limitations for minor victims. Instead, the statute of limitations is only tolled when the minor victim either doesn’t have a parent, guardian, or guardian ad litem or when these parties’ interests are adverse to the child’s.
- Does a Case Need to Be Finished by the End of the Statute of Limitations?
No, the statute of limitations only limits the period during which someone can file a lawsuit; it says nothing about when a timely filed lawsuit must be resolved. Thus, filing a case the day before the statute of limitations expires is possible, although doing so is not recommended.
Have You Been Injured Due to Another’s Negligence?
If you or a loved one has recently been seriously injured in a preventable accident, you are undoubtedly going through a very difficult time. However, reviewing your legal options earlier rather than later is important to ensure you do not miss the applicable statute of limitations. At the Blakeley Law Firm, P.A., our Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers are immediately available to consult with you about your injuries and offer our honest advice. With our help, you can ensure you are making the best decision for yourself and your family and that you won’t be prevented from filing a lawsuit when you are ready to do so. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 800-602-5000. You can also reach us through our secure online contact form.