If you were hurt in an accident caused by another person’s negligence, you must file your personal injury case by the applicable deadline. The Florida personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date of the injury. Otherwise, your case can be dismissed, and you could lose the chance for monetary damages from the negligent party.
Our dedicated Florida personal injury attorneys at Farah & Farah can help ensure your case is filed on time, which is crucial to the success of your lawsuit. Call us today at (877) 245-6707 to schedule a consultation and see how we can help you win the compensation you deserve.
Statute of Limitations in Personal Injury Cases in Florida
A statute of limitations sets a deadline for filing your personal injury case. It is a strict deadline that has significant ramifications for your case. A trial court will almost certainly dismiss your case if it is filed late. This means you would lose your opportunity to pursue monetary damages even if you would otherwise win compensation in a settlement or jury verdict.
You can avoid this issue by understanding how the personal injury statute of limitations in Florida applies to your case and speaking with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Florida Statutes Section 95.11(4) requires that most personal injury cases are filed within two years of the date of the incident. This time limit applies to cases involving the following:
Deadlines for Florida Medical Malpractice Cases
Florida law also sets the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims at two years. This two-year period typically begins on the date the injury or death occurred.
The deadline for filing a claim for medical malpractice may start from the date the injury was discovered or should have been discovered. This can extend the deadline in cases where the injury was not immediately discovered but cannot be extended more than four years from the initial incident, even if the injury has not been discovered yet.
Exceptions apply to this general rule, including for cases with young children. In delayed discovery cases, the statute of limitations does not expire until a child’s eighth birthday. However, parents who knew or should have known about an injury may still be subject to the two-year statute of limitations.
These and other exceptions are complicated. You should immediately speak with a Florida medical malpractice attorney if you suspect you or your child was harmed by medical malpractice.
Deadlines for Suing the Government
Florida allows personal injury victims to sue the state of Florida or any county or municipality. A legal action against the government has different time limits.
First, the plaintiff must file a notice of claim in writing. The plaintiff must serve this notice on the appropriate governmental agency and the Department of Financial Services. The government agency may choose to accept the claim and pay the judgment. In most cases, the agency will refuse to pay the claim. This refusal gives you the power to file a claim in civil court.
You must file your claim within three years for most personal injury claims against the government. If the case is for wrongful death, the statute of limitations is two years. There may be shorter deadlines for specific cases, such as those that seek contribution from another defendant. These deadlines may be as short as six months, so the best course of action is to consult an attorney as soon as possible after your accident.
Deadlines for Injuries to Children
The statute of limitation period may pause for children under 18. Injuries to children may allow you additional time to file claims. Florida law states that children have seven years from the date of their injury or the standard statute of limitations, whichever is longer, to file their case or for parents to file a case on their behalf.
There are exceptions based on the individual circumstances of your child’s case. This can sometimes mean that the Florida statute of limitations for a personal injury is even shorter. The rules involving child injury claims are highly complex. Talking to an experienced Florida child injury lawyer is the best way to understand the specific time limits that may apply to your case and avoid missing important deadlines.
When Does the Statute of Limitations Begin To Run?
In most cases, the statute of limitations in Florida for a personal injury starts on the date of the injury. For example, if a car struck your vehicle from behind and injured you, you must file your personal injury case within two years of the collision date.
In some cases, the time limit to file a claim for injury may start when you first discover the harm, even if it was not immediately apparent at the time of the incident. Alternatively, it may begin when you could have reasonably discovered the injury if you had been more diligent. For birth injuries, it may take several years for the injury to develop after medical negligence occurs.
In wrongful death cases, the time limit starts from the date of the person’s death, which may be several days or weeks after the injury. This is the date that matters when considering the statute of limitations in Florida wrongful death lawsuits.
Courts may also toll or pause the statute of limitations in other circumstances, such as:
- The defendant has left the jurisdiction
- The injured victim is a minor
- A defective product caused your injuries
- Sexual abuse cases
- Mental illness or incapacity
2023 Changes to the Statute of Limitations in Florida
On March 24, 2023, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 837: Civil Remedies into law. The law shortened the statute of limitations period for general negligence and personal injury cases from four years to two.
This change will have a substantial impact on many Floridians. A shorter statute of limitations means less time to investigate your claim and file a proper lawsuit. More victims will miss their deadline and the opportunity to win financial compensation.
The best way to avoid this problem is to speak with a personal injury lawyer about your case as soon as possible. The more time we have to investigate your case before filing, the more effective it is likely to be. Waiting longer can also mean the loss of valuable evidence needed to prove your personal injury case.
Our Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help
Filing your personal injury case in time is essential to protecting your rights. At Farah & Farah, our skilled personal injury attorneys can analyze your case to determine its merits and when you must file. We have over 40 years of experience handling personal injury matters for our clients and understand the complex rules that govern the deadline for filing your personal injury lawsuit.