Time Limits for Filing Personal Injury Cases
Florida Statutes of Limitation
|Type of Case||Time Limit to File Suit||Florida Statute|
|Personal injury||4 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(3)(a) (2016)|
|Wrongful death||2 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(4)(d) (2016)|
|Motor vehicle accident||4 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(3)(a) (2016)|
|Product liability||2, or 4 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11 (3)(a), (3)(e), (3)(k), (4)(d) (2016)|
|Assault and battery||4 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(3)(o) (2016)|
|Workers’ compensation||2 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 440.19(1) (2010)|
|Legal malpractice||2 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(4)(a) (2016)|
|Medical malpractice||2 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(4)(b) (2016)|
|Claims against the government||180-day investigatory period; 3 years (wrongful death, 2 years)||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 768.28(6)(a) (2016)|
|Contract founded on written instrument||5 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(2)(b) (2016)|
|Contract not founded on written instrument||4 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(3)(k) (2016)|
|False imprisonment||4 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(3)(o) (2016)|
|Fraud||4 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(3)(j) (2016)|
|Libel||2 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(4)(g) (2016)|
|Property damage||4 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(3)(h) (2016)|
|Slander||2 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(4)(g) (2016)|
|Trespass||4 years||Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11(3)(g) (2016)|
Every state has its own specific statute of limitations, which is the time limit in which a case must be filed.
Did you know that each type of personal injury case has its own different type of limitation, too? This means that a wrongful death case has a different deadline than a negligence case, which has a different deadline than a property damage claim, which has a different deadline than a malpractice claim.
If that deadline passes and the claimant has not filed, then he can’t pursue his claim in court or receive compensation for the injuries he has sustained.
Why are there statutes of limitation?
Statutes establish these so that cases are brought forth when there is fresh, reliable information. The witnesses’ memories are clearer, documents are more readily available, and the events are more recent.
This also allows people to live their lives without fearing that an event that occurred years or even decades ago will come back to haunt them. The exception, of course, is murder. There is no statute of limitations on that.
Five-year time limit
Contracts founded on written instruments have a five-year statute of limitations for filing. These are very specific and would need an attorney to parse out the details.
Four-year time limit
For personal injury, motor vehicle accidents, product liability, assault and battery, contracts not founded on written instruments, fraud, property damage, false imprisonment, and trespass, the statute of limitations is four years in Florida.
Three-year time limit
Claims against the government are the only cases that are given a three-year time limit. However, they are limited to two years if they are for wrongful death, and they have a mandatory 180-day investigatory period.
Two-year time limit
Wrongful death, some variations of product liability, workers’ compensation, legal malpractice, medical malpractice, wrongful death claims against the government, slander and libel claims all have two-year statutes of limitations in Florida. Two years is actually considered a very quick legal turnaround, all things considered, so speaking with an attorney as soon as possible would be prudent.
In most cases, the statute of limitations starts on the date of injury. However, there are times the victim wouldn’t be aware he sustained an injury and it wouldn’t be reasonable to suspect he would – in cases such as cancer, for instance. The discovery rule allows the injured party more time to bring forth a personal injury claim. This allows the statute of limitations to begin running on the date he reasonably would have discovered the injury.
There may also be times in which the victim cannot control circumstances that would prevent the case from moving forward. “Tolling” the statute allows one to pause it temporarily in the interests of justice – if the victim were not mentally competent, perhaps, or a minor. Additionally, if the state is at war or if the defendant has fled the jurisdiction, the court will generally be understanding of the situation and wait until things have returned to normal.
Do you need a Florida attorney to help you understand this? Try looking through the Enjuris law firm directory for assistance!
See our guide Choosing a personal injury attorney.