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What Are The Takata Bankruptcy Lawsuits?

By Farah and Farah Content on July 20, 2017

The Takata Corporation is a Japanese producer and distributor of auto parts. You’ve probably heard of them in reference to the air bags they produce, which created a huge 

Jacksonville, Florida Takata Air Bag Lawyer

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scandal, starting in 2013. This when people started dying and suffering devastating injuries from the defective air bags that the company created. Their slogan, ‘Quality First,’ certainly did not seem to apply to this particular part. At least 16 people were killed by the air bags that were supposed to save them in an accident. Over 42 million cars were recalled because of the defective part, making it the largest vehicle recall in the history of the US.

What Was the Problem with the Defective Air Bags of the Takata Corporation?

The Takata Corporation started producing air bags in 1988 and quickly held 20% of the air bag market. The recalls didn’t start until 2013, but there are reports that problems existed as far back as 2003. The issue with the air bags was with the inflator units. This is the part of the air bag that causes it to inflate when the vehicle impacts another vehicle or another object. Moisture and humidity were reported as a causal factor, causing the volatile propellant inside the inflator unit to destabilize. This then caused the air bags to explode and shrapnel to injure, maim, and kill the vehicle occupants.

The Takata Corporation Filed for Bankruptcy in June 2017

Because they were facing more than $1 billion in penalties and other costs that were associated with the defective air bags, Takata ended up filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States and bankruptcy protection in Japan on June 25, 2017. The basic reason is that they owe more in compensation than they can possibly pay while still staying in business. They are selling their assets to their largest competitor, Key Safety Systems in China and Michigan in the US. They should get close to $1.6 billion from the sale of their assets, potentially allowing them to pay their expenses.

Will the Takata Corporation Bankruptcy Filing Affect Compensation for Victims in the United States?

Fortunately for those who are seeking compensation for injuries and deaths that were caused by the defective air bags produced by the Takata Corporation, this should not affect their compensation. Criminal action was taken against the company by the United States Justice Department, and they were ordered to put $125 million into a victim compensation fund. The program to ensure that victims and their families are able to receive this compensation is operated by Kenneth Feinberg, the same man who managed the victim compensation fund for 9/11 victims and victims of the malfunctioning ignition switches from a General Motors case. The Takata Corporation plead guilty in a United States court for mishandling the defective air bag cases, and also agreed to pay $1 billion in penalties, which included the fund for victims of their defective air bags.

What Will the Bankruptcy Proceedings and Protections Accomplish for Takata and Victims?

According to the Takata Corporation, by filing for bankruptcy and bankruptcy protection, they will be financially able to continue supplying replacements for the defective inflator units of their air bags. The sale of their assets to Key Safety Systems, once authorized by a federal bankruptcy judge, should allow them to raise enough funds to cover the recall costs and the legal and compensation expenses. It will also allow for employees of the Takata Corporation to remain employed, as Key Safety Systems will absorb the 60,000 employees of the Takata Corporation in more than 20 different countries.

What Does the CEO of the Takata Corporation Have to Say About All of This?

The chief executive officer of the Takata Corporation, Shigehisa Takada, has expressed that the top priorities of himself and the company as a whole include the necessity of providing a steady supply of products to those vehicles that have been affected and need to have parts replaced while also ensuring that care is given to employees. The aim of their proposed agreement is to achieve these goals. They hope to further accomplish these goals through a debt-restructuring process in Japan.

They have also admitted that their employees were aware of the issues with the inflator units of the defective air bags as early as 2000 and that testing data was manipulated to convince auto makers to continue purchasing their airbags instead of buying from their competitors. This is a huge change for the company’s reputation since they’ve been one of the largest suppliers of critical vehicle safety equipment, including air bags and seat belts, in the whole world. They have also created lifelines for parachutes and other uses with their special weaving technology. This means that millions of people have put their safety in the hands of this company over the decades and can no longer trust them.

The Chief Financial Officer of the Takata Corporation, Yoichiro Nomura, apologized on behalf of the whole company in federal court in February 2017 in Detroit. He expressed deep regret for the fraudulent behavior of the company and the testing data, stating that their actions were inappropriate.

Because of these actions, the United States Justice Department also pressed criminal charges against certain executives of the Takata Corporation, including Shinichi Tanaka, Hideo Nakajima, and Tsuneo Chikaraishi. They were charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and five counts of wire fraud. Yet, these individuals live in Japan and have not come to the United States to appear in court.

Who is Affected by the Takata Corporation Defective Air Bag Scandal?

There have been more than 30 brands of automobiles affected by the defective air bag scandal of the Takata Corporation. Among these are vehicles from 2001 to 2011, produced by brands like Acura, Honda, and Volkswagen, among dozens of others. Some of the first recalls were in 2008 from Honda, who recalled 4,000 Civics and Accords.

If you have been affected by defective Takata air bags, call Farah & Farah to learn more.

Florida Leads in Accidental Drowning Deaths

By Farah and Farah Content on July 18, 2017

Florida loses more young children to drowning than any other state.

This summer promises to be no different.  

So far five children from our area have died since the summer season.  

A toddler from Yulee, crawled through a dog door and drowned in the backyard pool. He was under the supervision of a 16-year-old babysitter who had four other children.  

A four-year-old boy died after being rescued from a pool in Keystone Heights.

A two-year-old drowned in a family pool in Jacksonville and during a July 4th party a 4-year-old girl died in a pool during a house party.  

A 12-year-old died in a Jacksonville apartment pool during a private party.  His drowning was captured on a surveillance camera.

It is a dubious distinction – Florida has the highest unintentional drowning rate among children under the age of 5.

Among children ages five to 14, auto accidents still claim more lives, but drowning is second.

Children who cannot swim represent the most casualties.   For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports there is a 5.5 times greater rate a black child will drown compared to other children.

The age they are most vulnerable is 10.

According to the Washington Post as many as seven in 10 African American children, 60 percent of Hispanics, and 40 percent of Caucasian children cannot swim.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports since 2010 the number of fatal child drownings in swimming pools, among those younger than age five, has decreased 17 percent nationwide.  

So education campaigns are working. According to Pool Safety public education campaign:

*A four-sided fence needs to surround the pool and spa.  

*A Water Watcher should be designated. This person needs to stay off their smartphone and avoid distractions.  

*Children must be taught how to swim

*Learn CPR

*Avoid any drains or pipes that can lead to entrapment

*Make sure drain covers comply with safety standards. If you don’t know, ask the pool service provider.

*Black Kids Swim was founded in 2015 helps parents find a swim team for their child and links kids to role models who were champion swimmers.

*The YMCA has launched an ambitious program this summer to teach thousands of kids how to swim.  Safety Around Water offers eight 40-minute lessons to teach kids to float, swim, and jump. They can help you find a Y in your community.

*The USA Swimming Foundation will help you find a swim coach or team in your area to train your little ones to swim.   

Posted in: Firm News, Law Firm News

Mac and Cheese Dangers?

By Farah and Farah Content on July 18, 2017

Phthalates are industrial chemicals found in plastics, sealants, tubing, conveyor belts, labels, adhesives, toys, medications, medical devices and in macaroni and cheese.

According to newly released research involving 1,500 men conducted by the University of Adelaide in Australia, the highest concentrations of phthalates were found in mac and cheese powder mixes, the kind of food most kids love to eat.

Phthalates tend to bind with fatty foods and mac and cheese certainly would qualify.

Why should we care? They have been associated with a slowdown in testosterone production, with birth defects in infant boys, and with learning and behavior problems.   

It’s assumed the chemicals migrate during food production and into the food. The New York Times reports they may pose a special risk to pregnant women and young children, at the age where mac and cheese is a top favored food.

Of the 30 cheese products tested, all had detected phthalate levels but the boxed mac and cheese mixes had four times the amount of phthalates.

Even the organic products had higher phthalate levels.  

The University of Adelaide Medical School researchers confirm it’s not known why phthalates are linked to disease but they seem to have an impact on the endocrine system which oversees the release of hormones.

Hormones regulate growth, metabolism and sexual development.

A diet of processed food and carbonated soft drinks with fewer fruits and vegetables is associated with the higher levels of phthalates ingestion.

In men, the everyday chemicals are linked to type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure.  There was no significant association with asthma and depression.

Inflammatory biomarkers increased with higher phthalate levels along with chronic disease. Chronic inflammation is a biomarker that indicates disease.

The research is published in the international journal, Environmental Research.  

It’s estimated about two million boxes of mac and cheese are sold in the U.S. every day.

Consumers have the ultimate power so let your favorite mac and cheese maker know your concerns.

A petition by the Environmental Defense Fund demands the Food and Drug Administration remove all phthalates from food processing, packaging, manufacturing equipment and food.   

Posted in: Law Firm News

Summer Road Trip – Maybe Think Again as Airbag Recall Expands

By Farah and Farah Content on July 18, 2017

Just in time for those summer road trips – Takata is expanding its unprecedented airbag recall to include another 2.7 million cars.

This is in addition to the 70 million Takata inflators already recalled from 42 million cars.  

Honda and Acura are the automakers most associated with serious defective airbags. It’s estimated about half of the 2001 to 2003 Honda and Acura vehicles may have a dangerous airbag inflator. But that’s just an estimate.  

This latest phase includes Ford, Mazda and Nissan and was sparked by the death of the 11th American.

The Hialeah, Florida man was killed when he was inside a 2001 Honda using a hammer to make repairs. The vehicle’s ignition switch was turned on which means the airbag was able to fully deploy. The airbag explosion caused the metal inflator to rupture and shoot out fragments of metal-like shrapnel.  He died one day after he was injured.

The Honda was under recall but had never received a repair. Honda says it sent out a dozen or so recall notices but many owners do not heed the warning. There are also instances when a car changes hands multiple times and it’s difficult to find the new owner.

There are millions of U.S. consumers still waiting to replace the potentially deadly airbags but production lags can’t keep up with the demand.

The cars involved in this phase of the recall are 627,000 Nissan Versa automobiles from 2007 to 2012. One half million were sold in the U.S.

Ford has not yet revealed which of its 2.2 million cars are covered.  

Mazda says about 6,000 B-Series trucks will need their airbag replaced.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Takata determined this additional recall was necessary as some replacement fixes didn’t work.

Airbag inflators use calcium sulfate as a drying agent.  Over time, the chemical can degrade making it less effective in preventing the airbag inflator ruptures.

So far 17 deaths globally and 180 injuries are attributed to exploding Takata airbags.

An estimated 13 million airbags have been replaced and it could take another three years before all of the airbag replacements are completed.

Takata recently declared bankruptcy and Key Safety Systems of Detroit has taken over its assets. The goal is to speed up production to better fulfill replacement airbag inflators.

The company has pled guilty and paid $1 billion in penalties to settle charges that it knowingly sold defective airbags. Another lawsuit claims at least five auto makers knew the airbags were defective but installed them anyway.

NHTSA is urging drivers to stop driving cars that are unsafe until they are fixed.

Safety advocates worry the recalls could expand even further.  

Posted in: Firm News

What You Need to Know if You Take Invokana for Diabetes in Orlando, Florida

By Farah and Farah Content on July 10, 2017

If you take Invokana for diabetes (or Invokamet or Invokamet XR), then there’s some valuable new information of which you need to be aware. Invokana is produced by Johnson & Johnson, which is a huge manufacturer of medications, medical devices, and various products around the globe. In May, the company was informed by the United States Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, that they had to put new warning labels on the Invokana medication and all variations of the drug. The FDA is a regulatory agency which ensures that medications, foods, and other products are safe for consumer consumption. This new guideline was issued not long after it was discovered that a talcum powder, produced by the same company, caused ovarian cancer in a woman in Missouri. The Missouri woman was awarded $110 million for her damages by a jury, just two weeks before the Invokana decision. Johns & Johnson was granted a mistrial because of the location where the lawsuit was filed, and the story continues as they attempt to reach a conclusion. Yet, the decision concerning Invokana was not about ovarian cancer, but a medical risk that was demonstrated in two extensive clinical trials.

What Must Invokana Warn Users About in Orlando, Florida, and Around the United States?

The new order for Johnson & Johnson concerning Invokana and all related medications is to add a black

Orlando, Florida Defective Drug Practice Lawyer

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box warning that taking the drug (canagliflozin) could increase their risk of amputation. Two large clinical trials revealed that leg and foot amputations were much more likely for those who take Invokana and other medications derived from this drug. The black box warning is the highest level of warning that the FDA requires for medications that are produced or sold inside of the United States. The two clinical trials were CANVAS and CANVAS-R. They showed that these leg and foot amputations were nearly twice as likely to happen when patients took this medication. The studies were intended for a larger study on the effects of the medication on the heart. Johnson & Johnson initiated the study and hoped to reveal that the medication was perfectly safe. Unfortunately, they discovered the opposite. Further, it was not the first time that these concerns had been raised.

A Brief History of Invokana in the Legal System with Amputations

In the past, Invokana has been under much scrutiny because of its side effects and the apparent increase in amputation risk among those who took the drug. There have been multiple lawsuits from those who experienced a variety of different side effects from taking Invokana, and one of those side effects included getting leg and foot amputations.

How Johnson & Johnson is Dealing with Legal Issues and Safety Issues for Multiple Products

Johnson & Johnson has been facing a lot of legal issues because of the safety (or lack of safety) of their medications, their various consumer goods, and their medical devices, all around the world. Just last year, there were multiple lawsuits concerning the risks of ovarian cancer arising from Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, Johnson & Johnson’s Shower-to-Shower Body Powder, and other similar products. The aforementioned lawsuit from the woman in Missouri is just one example of these cases. While the mistrial was declared, based on the location of the lawsuit, it is highly likely that she will succeed again and will get a similar verdict to pay for her medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages.  She is far from the only one in the United States or around the world to be seeking compensation for similar medical issues related to these products. The company has already had to pay over $300 million in such lawsuits, and there have been multiple studies that confirm the link between them and ovarian cancer. Even so, the company has not stopped making these products and continues to state that they are safe to use.

How Diabetes is Also Related to Ovarian Cancer in Orlando, Florida, and Around the World

Many people do not realize that ovarian cancer is also a general risk of having diabetes. So, aside from the potential for amputation associated with Invokana and related drugs, it is important for those who have diabetes to avoid using these talcum based products that are produced by Johnson & Johnson and other companies. Many people use these products for babies, for feminine hygiene, and for various other applications. Anyone who has been diagnosed with diabetes would be wise to avoid these products, and if you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using such products, then you should contact the Orlando, Florida, personal injury attorneys at Farah & Farah for a free consultation.

Is it Safe for You to Keep Taking Invokana to Treat Your Diabetes in Orlando, Florida?

Even though there are serious risks of taking Invokana and similar drugs to treat your diabetes in Orlando, Florida, leading to the new black label warning, you should also be aware that the drug has not been recalled or pulled from the market. Thus, it is still considered safe to use for the most part. By taking Invokana, you have a much greater chance of needing a foot or leg amputation, but it is important to put this into perspective. Out of 1,000 people, the CANVAS and CANVAS-R studies revealed that six to eight would end up having such an amputation. This shows that the vast majority of individuals who take it are not going to need an amputation. You must be aware of the risks, but also be aware of the potential benefits of the medication. Talk to your doctor about it and do not stop taking any medication without first discussing this and the alternatives with a physician.

Guidelines for Those Who Take Invokana to Treat Diabetes in Orlando, Florida

The most important thing for those who take Invokana to treat diabetes in Orlando, Florida, and around the world is to follow these guidelines (set by the FDA) when doing so:

  • Make your doctor aware of any new pains, tenderness, infections, ulcers, or sores that occur in your legs, in your feet, or anywhere else on your body.
  • Talk to your doctor before attempting to stop taking Invokana or switching to something else.
  • Be aware that any history of amputation, ulcers, neuropathy, or vascular disease could put you at greater risk of having an amputation while being on Invokana.

Contact the personal injury attorneys at Farah & Farah if you have any adverse effects with Invokana.

Farah & Farah Client Wins $500k Claim Against Big Insurer

By Farah & Farah on June 30, 2017

Insurance companies love to tell you they have your back and they are your good neighbor. But when it comes to paying out a claim, you see an entirely different side of the industry.

The dark side of how Big Insurance works was very evident in the recently concluded trial of Farah & Farah client, Keiondra Dennis.

Two days after Christmas in 2010, Ms. Dennis was driving a large SUV Chevy Tahoe, near the Jacksonville airport.

A semi tractor-trailer was stopped in a turn lane coming from the opposite direction. A young woman, Ashley Cottles, driving a Nissan, pulled into the intersection and hit the Tahoe’s right front side, which knocked Dennis head-on into the semi.

The impact from the two collisions caused Ms. Dennis to suffer whiplash and severe nerve damage to her neck, injuries she is still being treated for today.

Liability was not at issue in this four-day trial, which began June 5, in Duval County’s Fourth Judicial Circuit Court in Jacksonville, (Case No. 16-2012-CA-4040), before Judge Kevin Blazs.

During the trial, the insurance company suggested Ms. Dennis was a liar and that her injuries were not that serious.  But Farah & Farah attorney, Kevin A. Brown, convinced the jurors that Ms. Dennis injuries were serious and permanent.

The jury verdict was delivered on Thursday, June 8 with six jurors awarding Keiondra Dennis $493,986.65 for past and future medical treatment.

Interestingly, the insurance company involved had an opportunity to offer a $27,500 settlement early on in the negotiations, before we knew just how serious Ms. Dennis was injured.

Fortunately for Ms. Dennis, they turned that down.

As for her future, Ms. Dennis’ doctor testified at trial that she injured the nerves in her facet joints, the joints in the spine and neck that make it flexible.

Nerve injuries don’t heal and nerve roots regenerate, so she must undergo burning of the nerve roots in three separate areas which interrupts the pain signal temporarily. Nerves regenerate in about six months and so does the pain.

She will have to undergo treatment for her lifetime.

Despite her injury, Farah & Farah attorney Brown says over the seven years he represented her, he came to admire Ms. Dennis and her determination to become a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office police officer.

Her goal was completed in March when Ms. Dennis graduated from JSO training. She is currently in the last phase of field officer training before she is on the street by herself.

Posted in: Law Firm News

Summertime Hazard – Parasitic Pool Water

By Farah & Farah on June 29, 2017

Just when you thought it was safe to go into the water – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning swimmers who dip into pools and water playgrounds this summer about outbreaks of a parasitic infection.

Cryptosporidium, also known as crypto, is a parasitic diarrhea-causing infection that can make people sick for up to three weeks.

It is spread through contact with the feces of an infected person and a pool is an ideal place to have that encounter. That’s because children with diarrhea who are infected may go into pools.

Parents are asked to warn their children not to swallow pool water and parents should not let children go in a pool if they have diarrhea.

Parents are also encouraged to take regular bathroom breaks with their young kids who may not take themselves.

Symptoms of crypto include stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and watery diarrhea. If diarrhea lasts longer than three days, medical treatment should be sought.

Crypto can be fatal in third world countries where it causes dehydration and poor nutrition.

Contamination comes from animals infected and can plague wells, water treatment systems and the food we eat that are grown with contaminated water.  Raw milk and meat, apple cider, salads and raw vegetables have caused outbreaks of crypto.

The numbers of cases in the U.S. have tripled since 2014, reports the CDC. There were 32 reports linked to swimming pools or water playgrounds last year compared with half that two years earlier.

It is not recommended to up the level of chlorine in a pool because crypto is difficult to kill with chlorine and chlorine contains its own risk factors.

Toxic levels of chlorine gas forced 4,800 people to visit U.S. emergency rooms in 2012, reports the CDC. A closed environment can make the effects even stronger.

Burns that cause rashes, blisters and pain result from a toxic exposure of chlorine, and can affect the eyes, throat and lungs. Chlorine was used as a chemical weapon in World War 1.

Pool chemicals should be properly handled and stored. Do not assume that they are inert.

Posted in: Law Firm News

The 2017 Hurricane Season is Here – What You Should Know

By Farah & Farah on June 29, 2017

Hurricane season in Florida has arrived. The season takes place between June 1 and November 30th for those states that border the Atlantic.

Florida and our neighboring Southeastern states are affected by hurricanes which are ranked according to Category one through five.
With Category One, sustained winds are 74 to 95 miles per hour; Category Two, 96 to110 mph; Category Three, 111 to 129 mph; Category Four, 130 to 156 mph; and Category Five, winds of 157 miles per hour and higher.
There are a few things you can do to be prepared. First, make sure your insurance policy has not lapsed.
Take pictures of the condition of your property before the hurricane. After the hurricane take another series of pictures of the same items and same places, preferably from the same angles. You will also want to have a written inventory of your valuables.

Even if you don’t require flood insurance, it may be a good idea to purchase especially when the debate ensues whether your damage came from wind or floods. Big insurance companies will try to avoid paying blaming some other cause of your damage. To bypass any questions about your coverage, you may want to obtain flood insurance.

In your own home you will want to have water, at least a gallon per person set aside for a couple of days.

Surging flood waters can carry disease, contamination and the risk of an electric shock from downed power lines or an active storm. Please stay inside if you have that option, and out of flood waters.
If you rely on a generator during or after a storm make sure they are properly vented so you do not become a victim of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Even running a generator in a garage can cause poisoning which you may not realize. Often victims simply go to sleep and never wake up.

Hurricane Matthew last year killed over one-thousand people and still has residents in our area cleaning up and repairing from the damage.
The World Meteorological Organization names hurricanes and alternates between men and women’s names. Hurricanes used to be named only after females because they were considered unpredictable.

Men’s names were added in 1980.

Posted in: Law Firm News

Rare Breast Cancer Found in Textured Breast Implants

By Farah & Farah on June 29, 2017

This is an emerging story about a possibly dangerous medical device that we find interesting.

Researchers are finding a rare malignancy of the breast associated with a particular type of breast implant. The disease is anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has noted 359 reports of possible breast implant-involved ALCL and nine deaths.

This rare T-cell cancer involves the cells of the immune system. It is characterized by an abnormal growth of the T-cells with a strong expression of protein, and cytokine receptor CD30.

The disease has been found specifically around the site of textured breast implants.
The FDA stops short of saying that type of breast implant causes cancer. It does say it’s establishing a registry in collaboration with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons to study the issue.

Data collection could take 10 years.

The leading theory of causation is that the abrasive texture may cause inflammation that leads to this type of cancer on an average of eight years after implantation.

A textured implant looks cloudy when compared to a clear non-textured implant. The FDA says it doesn’t seem to matter whether the implant is filled with saline or silicone or whether the implant is for reconstruction or cosmetic reasons.

Surgeons choose a textured implant to reduce the rate of capsular contracture or a hardening around the implant. The texture is also thought to stabilize movement of the implant in the body.

If found in the early stages, ALCL is often curable and the first step is to remove the implant.

Another theory of causation is that bacterial biofilms may thrive around a textured implant that irritate the immune system with persistent inflammation.  Biofilms grow in high humidity and have been found surrounding other implants such as transvaginal mesh.

Allergan, which makes textured breast implants, is studying the inflammatory and immune response to their product as well as bacterial biofilms.
Symptoms of ALCL include a fluid buildup around the implant, lumps in the breast or armpit or swelling.  Draining the fluid and testing it for CD 30 will indicate lymphoma.

Worldwide there are about 10 million women with breast implants, the majority for cosmetic enhancement. Among those, 550,000 are placed per year in the U.S. Of these, approximately 70,000 textured breast implants are placed.

The FDA does not exactly issue a rousing endorsement of breast implants and their safety, though it says ALCL risk is low.
According to Australian regulators, the risk is one in 1,000 to one in 10,000 women with breast implants.

The “FDA believes that the totality of evidence continues to support a reasonable assurance that FDA-approved breast implants are safe and effective when used as labeled.”

Posted in: Law Firm News

Statute of Limitations For Florida Car Accident Claims

By Farah & Farah on June 20, 2017

Individuals who are injured in a car accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence can recover compensation in Florida by filing a personal injury claim against the negligent driver. While injured parties are entitled to sue those who negligently harm them, this right does not last forever. This is because Florida has a statute of limitations which limits the timeframe within which personal injury claims resulting from car accidents can be filed. This article briefly explains what a statute of limitations is, outlines Florida’s statutes of limitation that commonly apply to car accident injuries, and notes some important exceptions to these limitations.

What is a Statute of Limitations?

A statute of limitations (SOL) is a law that affords plaintiffs (i.e. the person suing) a limited timeframe within which they are allowed to file their lawsuit. Many civil lawsuits are governed by a statute of limitations, most of which are state specific. For example, one state may grant wronged individuals one year to file their claims, but a neighboring state may have a statute of limitations that affords plaintiffs with the same type of claim two years within which their claims can be filed. It is incredibly important to know how long you have to file a claim under your state’s applicable statute of limitations as failing to file on time will likely result in your claim being barred.

States generally enact statutes of limitation in order to encourage legal conflicts to be resolved in a timely manner and to help discourage fraudulent claims. However, in the interest of fairness it only makes sense that some types of civil plaintiffs should have more time to file their claims than others. Therefore, Florida has established several different statutes of limitation that respectively govern a variety of different types of cases including personal injury, libel/slander, injury to personal property, professional malpractice, trespass, and workers’ compensation lawsuits.

Florida’s Car Accident Statutes of Limitation

  • Personal Injury Lawsuits: Florida Statutes section 95.11(3)(a) applies to plaintiffs suing in Florida on a civil action founded in negligence (which includes nearly all plaintiffs with a personal injury case based on a car accident), and holds that plaintiffs have four years from the date of the accident within which they are permitted to file their claim. Failing to meet this deadline will result in the court refusing to hear your case, unless you are able to successfully argue that your claim falls under an exception to this statute of limitations. Some valid exceptions to Florida’s personal injury statute of limitations are outlined below.
  • Wrongful Death Lawsuits: If an individual is injured in a car accident in Florida and passes away from his or her injuries, their family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit against the party who caused the accident. However, surviving family members must act quickly because Florida’s statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits (Florida Statutes section 95.11(4)(d)) generally requires claims to be filed within two years of the deceased family member’s passing.
  • Injury Claims Filed Against the Government: Car accident victims in Florida who wish to file a personal injury claim against a city, county, or state government should be aware that they will generally only be granted three years from the date of their accident within which to file their claims.

Exceptions to Florida’s Four Year Statute of Limitations For Personal Injury Lawsuits

It should be noted that under some limited circumstances a personal injury plaintiff’s statute of limitations clock can be delayed or tolled. It is important to know that these exceptions exist, but they should not be relied on before first consulting with a local personal injury attorney because determining whether or not a particular claim falls under a valid SOL exception can be extremely tricky.

In Florida personal injury cases, the plaintiff’s statute of limitations clock starts to run when their “cause of action arises.” In a personal injury case resulting from a car accident, the cause of action arises when the injury that is the basis of the lawsuit occurs (i.e. during the car accident). However, the “discovery rule” enables a plaintiff’s statute of limitations clock to be tolled (or paused) until the injured individual should have reasonably discovered their injury. Florida employes the discovery rule because it would be unfair to bar an injured plaintiff’s claim without giving them sufficient time to discover that they are injured and to get their claim filed.

Additionally, the court may also toll an injured plaintiff’s statute of limitations clock in the interest of justice if fairness requires the plaintiff to have additional time within which to file their claim. For instance, a court may permit an SOL to be tolled if the plaintiff was less than 18 years old when their cause of action arose and no one filed a suit on the minor’s behalf. Also, under some circumstances the court may toll a mentally incompetent individual’s statute of limitations clock until the plaintiff regains their mental competency, or until someone else has filed a lawsuit on their behalf.

Determining when a particular plaintiff’s statute of limitations begins and ends can be extremely complicated as there are many factors and exceptions that must be taken into consideration. Therefore, be sure to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer about your claim’s statute of limitations without delay.

Need Legal Advice?

If you were injured in a car accident in Florida be sure to get your claim started as soon as possible in order to best avoid being barring by our state’s statute of limitations. Discuss your case with an experienced  Florida car accident attorney as soon as possible to determine when the statute of limitations will expire in your case and whether or not your case falls under one of the exceptions outlined above. Here at Farah & Farah our experienced car accident lawyers are committed to zealously fighting for our clients’ rights and would be happy to fight for you. Contact our Jacksonville office today via our online contact form.

Posted in: Auto Accident

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The attorneys of Farah & Farah in Jacksonville, Florida have experience with personal injury, medical malpractice, product liability, workers’ compensation, social security, injury and negligence lawsuits. Eddie Farah and our team of Jacksonville attorneys are proud to represent working people and families throughout the country.

*Disclaimer: Not all results are provided and not all clients have provided testimonials, the results are not necessarily representative of results obtained by the lawyer, and a prospective client’s individual facts and circumstances may differ from the matter in which the results and the testimonials are provided.

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