What Are the Statutes Of Limitations For
Florida's Personal Injury Lawsuit?

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Have you or a loved one ever experienced injury to the body, mind, or emotions due to the actions of another? If yes, in legal terms, this is a personal injury. 

We will dive into whether a Florida personal injury lawsuit has a statute of limitations. But before we do, let's first understand what a personal injury suit entails. 

 

What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

When injuries cause damage and costs, the injured party can file suit.

Personal injury is a type of tort lawsuit. This is when the person who files is the "plaintiff," and the person who caused the suffering is the "defendant." 

Injuries and their causes can range from:

The "defendant" can be your neighbor, doctor, or nursing home caregiver. When negligence causes harm, the injured person can take legal action.

A "plaintiff" can contact a Tampa, Florida, law firm to receive a free consultation. Personal injury lawyers can also provide guidance and legal advice. 

If the personal injury attorney believes the legal case is valid, they will file a claim.

Building a strong case depends on the type of injury and its causes. If a person's injuries come from a car accident, they may need to take different steps. 

In this case, personal injury lawyers need to contact insurance companies for information. In another case type, they may not need to consider this step at all.

That is if the timeframe to file a claim has not run out.

To ensure there is no time limit on when a personal injury attorney can file a claim, seek a free case evaluation.

Do Florida Personal Injury Lawsuits have a statute of limitations? 

The answer is, yes.

 

What is the State of Florida's Statute of Limitations for a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Statutes of limitations are fundamental. If you do not know what they are in your state, you might miss your window of opportunity when looking to file a lawsuit. 

Florida does indeed have a statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits.

According to Florida Statutes Section 95.11, the timeframe for a person to file a lawsuit is four years. It begins on the date of the accident. 

If you do not submit your lawsuit within this legal time limit, you could lose your rights. 

There are vital factors that may cause the time limit to be longer or shorter. For instance, there are different time limits for medical malpractice and wrongful death claims. 

You must file these lawsuits within two years. If you have a case, submit your complaint as soon as possible.

Due to the complexities of Florida's statute of limitations, do not wait. Other reasons can also affect the claim. Contact an attorney today it happens for them to file the lawsuit during the time allotted.

The purpose of a claim “deadline” exists is to ensure they are filed in a reasonable time in the interest of justice.

There are some types of legal matters that do not have a statute of limitations like a severe crime, most do. In Florida, the statute of limitations for civil injury claims varies. 

It depends on the circumstances involved.

The following impacts an injury claim:

  • The nature of the claim
  • When the “clock” starts
  • The alleged at-fault party
  • Other factors that may extend the statute of limitations for victims.

Personal injury lawsuits are civil lawsuits. Tort laws allow victims to seek financial compensation for their losses. 

The payment can cover the costs of things related to the accident or injury. This includes any expenses that are related to your hospitalization or on-going therapy.

There is no law requiring at-fault parties to automatically compensate people they harm. It is up to the injured party to take action.

If the injured do not take the initiative to file a claim, the at-fault party will not be held accountable. Thus, you are responsible for paying the increasing expenses associated with your injuries.

If injured by another, make sure you bring a claim against the at-fault party to show they are liable. They need to be the person who pays for your costs, losses, and damages. And remember, you must do so within a specified amount of time.

 

Understanding the “Statute of Limitations” in Your Case

The timeframe associated with injury-related claims is not the same for every case.

Florida's statute of limitations has other time limits, as well. It depends on the different types of civil claims and causes of actions. The time limit may be subject to nuances in the law that impact the statute of limitations.

Below is the statute of limitations for some civil injury cases in Florida:

  • Personal injury – 4 years
  • Medical Malpractice – 2 years
  • Assault / Battery – 2 years
  • Product Liability – 2, 4, or 5 years
  • Wrongful death – 2 years
  • Workers’ compensation – 2 years

To avoid issues with the statute of limitations, talk to an experienced attorney. It is vital to do this right away.

 

When Does the Statute of Limitations “Clock” Start?

The "statute of limitations clock” begins ticking on the individual facts of each case. 

The statute of limitations applies to all cases, but there are some exceptions.

When the clock starts ticking down:

  • Date of injury 

In most cases, the statute of limitations will begin when an accident occurs. This includes the day you were involved in an accident or the day you were injured on another’s property.

  • Discovery

For some people, they may not fully realize that certain events caused them harm or damage. This happens in cases like those involving medical malpractice. 

In cases like these, the statute of limitations starts when injuries are "discovered." As well as the link between an underlying wrongful act and their damages.

  • Tolling

Some cases involve victims who want to prevent an event or situation from moving forward. This is a “toll,” which temporarily suspends the statute of limitations. 

In some instances, pausing a claim can happen when a victim’s mental competence is in question.

 

Other Considerations That May Extend or Shorten the Statute of Limitations in Florida

Many circumstances can extend or shorten the time period for filing a claim. 

Some examples include:

  • The type of case 
  • The age of the victim
  • The injury 
  • Medical malpractice claims
  • Product liability 
  • Claims against the government

Timely attention and advice from legal professionals can help all cases. You do not want anything to stop your claim from proceeding. 

The earlier you provide your legal team to build a strong and compelling case, the better. If you wait too long, you may lose the right to file a claim.

 

What is Florida's "Comparative Negligence" Rule?

If you file a lawsuit against someone for your injuries, they may turn around and point the finger at you. 

They may petition that you are the one fully or partially at-fault for the accident. The party may even infer that you made your injuries worse since the time of the accident.

Just another reason to file a claim as soon as possible.

If you are in some way responsible for your injuries, it can affect the amount of payment you receive.

Florida follows a "pure comparative negligence rule" in cases like these. Under this rule, compensation can decrease to equal your percentage of fault.

For example: If you are in a car accident where the other driver ran a red light, they would be at fault. But if you were driving a few miles an hour over the speed limit, you might share 10% blame for the accident. The other driver is 90% to blame.

The compensation you receive will reflect these conditions.

 

Florida No-Fault Car Insurance Rules

The Florida No-Fault Car Insurance Rule is only for those involved in car accidents. This means that a person's insurance policy will provide compensation for costs -- i.e., medical bills and wage loss. Who was at fault for the car accident does not matter. No matter who was at fault for the car accident.

If you are an injured passenger, you need to turn to the no-fault coverage of the driver for compensation.

You cannot hold a driver liable after a car accident in Florida via a third-party insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. Unless the crash causes "serious injury." 

Most minor car accidents fall under the no-fault umbrella. 

Some damage where accident claims meet the "serious injury" threshold in Florida.

  • Permanent injury
  • Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
  • Substantial and lasting loss of a bodily function or limb

As these terms are open to interpretation, the severity of the injury may be up for negotiation. 

 

"Strict" Liability for Dog Bite/Attack Cases

In some states, dog owners receive some protection from liability after the first time their dog injures someone. If there is no reason to believe the dog is a danger to others, this is often called a "one bite" rule. 

In Florida, dog owners are liable for damages suffered by persons bitten by the owner's dog. The animal's past behavior is not considered in cases. If the victim was lawfully on the property where the dog bit took place, the dog owner is liable.

Note that the victim's own negligence can reduce the dog owner's liability, however.

 

Damage Caps In Florida Injury Cases

Damage caps set a limit on the amount of money an injured person can receive. Caps happen in certain kinds of cases and for certain types of losses. 

Some of these damages include pain and suffering.

The most essential Florida law on damage caps pertains to punitive damages. Florida limits punitive damages to three times the amount of compensatory damages. Or $500,000, whichever amount is higher. 

They are meant to punish the wrongdoer for, particularly dangerous or reprehensible behavior.

There are no other damage cap laws on the books in Florida when it comes to standard personal injury claims. State law sets a limit on non-economic damages. 

For example, pain and suffering in medical malpractice cases. It was ruled unconstitutional by the Florida Supreme Court in 2017.

If you are the injured party, the best thing you can do is call an attorney as soon as an accident or incident happens. 

They can determine the status of your accident case, its limitations, and type. Your lawyer will provide advice on the situation of your claim. 

The faster you share information about the accident with a lawyer, the better it will be for your case.

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Main Office: 200 E. Robinson St. Suite #250, Orlando, Florida 32801. Attorney Jeffrey Kaufman, Licensed in Florida Disclaimer: the purpose of this site is to provide information about legal options, not to provide legal or professional advice. You should not assume that the information on this site applies to your case without consulting with an attorney first. Requesting an initial consultation does not create an attorney client relationship. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be solely based on advertisement.

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