A statute of limitations is a deadline for plaintiffs to file lawsuits. If you miss the deadline, your lawsuit will be dismissed. It doesn’t matter how much harm you suffered or how strong your case is. If you don’t file a lawsuit in time in Florida, expect it to be dismissed.
Under Florida law, how much time you have to file varies on the circumstances of what caused your injury.
Florida recently cut its negligence statute of limitations to two years. Most personal injury cases accuse the defendant of negligence (they failed to take proper care given the situation and their relationship to the victim when they did or failed to do something) and the victim suffered harm as a result.
Professional Malpractice Claims
An action to recover damages due to professional malpractice (not medical malpractice) is two years from when their action or failure to act caused harm or from the time you discovered it or should’ve found it if you used due diligence.
Medical Malpractice Claims
The state’s medical malpractice statute of limitations is all over the place. There’s a general rule, but several exceptions to it:
- You have two years from the time of the incident to file a lawsuit or
- You have two years from the time you discovered the injury caused by medical malpractice or
- You have two years from the time you should’ve discovered the injury if you exercised due diligence but no later than four years from the date of the incident
- If a minor is injured, their parents or guardians must file the lawsuit on or before their eighth birthday, no matter when the incident happened
If you can show the defendant used fraud, concealment, or intentionally misrepresented facts to prevent your discovery of the injury, there’s another set of rules:
- You have an additional two years from the time the injury is discovered or should’ve been found if you used due diligence
- But, no matter the situation, you don’t have more than seven years from the date the incident causing the injury to file your lawsuit
- Unless a minor is injured, in which case this seven-year deadline doesn’t apply
Depending on the facts of your medical malpractice claim, when the incident occurred, when and how you discovered it, and whether the defendant engaged in fraud to hide the injury, your deadline to file a legal claim varies, so the general two-year bar may or may not apply.
Product Liability Cases
If you’re injured by a faulty product, you have four years to file a product liability claim. This would be a situation where you claim the design, manufacture, distribution, or sale of some product (not attached or part of an improvement to real estate) caused your injuries.
Wrongful Death Actions
There’s a two-year deadline to file a wrongful death claim.
If you seek compensation due to intentional abuse, there’s a statute of limitations for victims of:
- Child abuse
- Abuse due to a willful act or threatened act by a caregiver, relative, caregiver, or household member that caused or was likely to cause significant impairment to your mental, physical, or emotional health if you are a vulnerable adult
- Human trafficking
The lawsuit may be filed:
- Within seven years after you turn 18, or
- Within four years after you leave the abuser’s dependency or
- Within four years from when you discovered the injury or that it’s connected to your abuse, whichever is later
Some types of civil actions to recover damages can be filed at any time, so there are no statutes of limitations for seeking compensation in the following cases:
- You were younger than 16 and the victim of sexual battery, kidnapping, or human trafficking
- A wrongful death case where the deceased is a murder or manslaughter victim
If you are in one of these situations, contact Jeffrey A. Davis so we can talk about your ability to obtain compensation for the injustice you suffered.
Personal Injury Protection
This is not a statute of limitation. However, in Florida, you have 14 days from the accident to file a claim with your vehicle insurer under your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. You also must seek medical care within those 14 days.
Are You Injured Because of Negligence or an Intentional Act?
Although the deadline to file your lawsuit may be months or years away, call our office as soon as possible after your injury. If you retain us, we’ll need to investigate before evidence is lost, witnesses move away, or their memories fade. If another caused your injury, contact the Jeffrey R. Davis, P.A. law firm today!