The statute of limitations for personal injury is crucial when seeking compensation for injuries sustained in accidents. It refers to the amount of time allowed for individuals to file personal injury claims resulting from an accident.
In Florida, you must file personal injury lawsuits within four years of the accident date. However, the applicable personal injury law to the situation might affect the statute of limitation.
Florida follows a no-fault system for car accidents, meaning victims must seek compensation for injuries and property damage from their insurers. However, this does not mean they cannot claim a personal injury against the at-fault party.
Additionally, Florida follows the pure comparative negligence doctrine for personal injury cases. Section 786.81(2) of the Florida Statutes states that the court will reduce damages awarded to claimants who bear any responsibility for the incident by their degree of fault.
Suppose you or a loved one sustained injury due to negligence in Florida. You can check out The Personal Injury Center blog for information on what to do or consult a personal injury lawyer. A reliable personal injury lawyer can help you understand your legal rights.
Many personal injury lawyers offer a free case evaluation where you can discuss your case and determine your legal options.
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Florida’s Statutes of Limitations for Personal Injury
Personal injury law covers injuries due to the negligence or wrongful acts of others. The Florida statute of limitations for injury claims resulting from negligence is four years from the incident date. However, this time frame may vary depending on the type of injury and circumstances of the case.
However, Section 627.737 of the Florida Statutes provides tort exemptions. Suppose the injuries are severe or result in permanent disability or death. Victims may seek additional compensation through a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Wrongful death is another area of personal injury law. When someone dies due to another’s negligence, their loved ones may be entitled to compensation for their losses. Wrongful death claims have a two-year statute of limitations, starting from the date of death.
When injury or death results from medical malpractice, healthcare providers can be liable for failing to provide appropriate care. The statute of limitations is typically two years from the date of injury, with exceptions for certain cases.
For instance, sometimes, the clock starts two years from when the injury occurred or should have been discovered. Additionally, if the victim is a minor, such as in birth injury cases, the statute’s application is on a case-to-case basis.
Lastly, claims against government agencies should be filed within three years of the date of injury.
It’s essential to hire a personal injury lawyer if you’re pursuing a personal injury claim in Florida. A personal injury lawyer can deal with insurance companies, guide you through the legal system, and represent you in court.
What are the doctrines of the statute of repose and laches?
Legal time limits are not exclusive to the statute of limitations. Two other types of constraints are statute of repose and laches.
A statute of repose is like a statute of limitations, except it does not matter when the cause of action accrued. It limits the time to bring an action, regardless of when the injury occurred.
For example, a statute of repose may limit filing for damages for a defective product within 10 years of its manufacture. If you sustained injuries in the ninth year, you only have one year at most to file a claim.
Section 95.031(b) of the Florida Statutes establishes the statute of repose for product liability. It limits claims for personal injury or death based on the product’s expected useful life. You could not recover damages for products with a lifespan of 10 years or less if the injury occurred after 12 years.
In contrast, Laches is a legal doctrine referring to the unreasonable delay in pursuing a legal claim. It is not a fixed time limit but a defense you can raise. Essentially, a plaintiff with a delayed claim forfeits the right to recovery.
The personal injury law in Florida is complex, and navigating the legal system can be challenging. It’s essential to consult with a personal injury lawyer to protect your rights to recovery and fair compensation for your injuries.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury cases in Florida encompass a wide range of legal issues. These cases include injuries or deaths resulting from another party’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions. Here is an overview of personal injury cases in Florida.
Florida witnessed over 390,000 car crashes in 2022. These accidents resulted in over 249,000 injuries and 3,479 deaths. Many of these car accidents involved cyclists (7,125) and pedestrians (10,066). Motorcycle accidents are also significant at 9,145 crashes with 588 fatalities.
In Florida, auto accidents involving injuries have a four-year filing limit.
Florida reported 2,680 closed medical malpractice cases, 49.4% involving injuries sustained in hospitals as inpatients. Over 43% of these incidents involved severe injuries, while 32.5% resulted in death. Unfortunately, medical malpractice cases can be difficult to prove, so they often follow special rules.
Generally, medical malpractice is when a healthcare professional makes a mistake, harming a patient. The harm can manifest as a new health problem or worsen an existing one. Moreover, proving liability in these cases requires extensive investigation since health problems can stem from various factors.
A claimant must prove the health provider’s conduct did not meet the prevailing professional standard of care in Florida. A medical malpractice lawyer must provide testimony from an expert witness to establish a breach in the standard of care. Since you only have two years to gather all the evidence, working with an experienced lawyer can increase your success.
Product liability jury awards are the highest among personal injury lawsuits. Its median was $3.9 million in 2020, with medical malpractice a far second at $1.2 million. This is mainly because many product liability cases involve medical devices, which often lead to catastrophic injuries or death.
In Florida, defective products may fall under strict liability rules, which do not require proof of intent to cause harm. However, injured parties must file a case within four years of the incident. In cases resulting in death, the wrongful death suit has a statute of limitations of two years.
The Division of Worker’s Compensation reported 56,461 workers’ compensation claims in Florida for 2022. Like most states, Florida requires companies to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover their employees for workplace accidents.
Section 440.11 of the Florida Statutes outlines the requirements and provisions for the worker’s compensation system in the state. Moreover, Section 440.19 of the Florida Statutes provides the time limitation for filing claims under the worker’s compensation system.
The law establishes a statute of limitations of two years after the date the employee knew or should have known of the injury.
The most common premises liability case are slip-and-fall accidents, which involve injuries that occur on someone else’s property. Premises liability law in Florida requires property owners to ensure their premises are safe for visitors. Otherwise, they can be liable for any injuries that result.
Generally, the basis for premises liability claims is negligence. As a result, the time limit to file a premises liability action is four years.
Section 768.19 of the Florida Statutes defines wrongful death as a cause of action. It is when someone dies due to another’s negligence, intentional act, breach of contract, or default. Examples of wrongful death include truck accidents, defective products, medical malpractice, and fall accidents.
Personal injury cases in Florida are common, and victims can seek compensation for their injuries and losses. It’s essential to consult an experienced personal injury attorney to understand your rights and options.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
The quickest way to recover your losses in a personal injury claim is through a settlement check from out-of-court negotiations. However, you may receive better compensation if you file a lawsuit.
Generally, claimants must abide by the statute of limitations for personal injury, starting on the date of the incident. However, there are exceptions to the rule. You can consult a personal injury attorney if your case qualifies for any of the following exceptions.
The discovery rule could extend the statute of limitations for personal injury claims when the injury or its cause is not immediately apparent. The rule provides that the statute of limitations begins when the injured person discovers or should have discovered the injury.
For example, suppose you get exposed to a toxic substance that causes injury, but the symptoms do not manifest until several years later. In that case, the statute of limitations only begins to run when the symptoms manifest.
The discovery rule can apply to various personal injury claims, including medical malpractice, product liability, and toxic tort cases. However, its application can be complex.
For instance, the statute of repose for products may negate the discovery rule if enough time has passed. Florida has a statute of repose of 12 years for product liability. Sometimes, you may need expert testimony to establish when you discovered the injury or its cause.
Section 95.051 of the Florida Statutes provides when the statute of limitations can be placed on hold or tolled. For Florida personal injury cases, the specific instances for tolled limitations include:
- When the defendant is out of state
- An inability to serve the process to the defendant due to a false name or concealment
- Mental incapacity of the plaintiff
- When the injured person is a minor, and there is no parent, guardian, or guardian ad litem
- When the injured party is a minor or mentally incapacitated, and the parent, guardian, or guardian ad litem has a conflict of interest and cannot act on their behalf
The tolling period varies depending on the circumstances. For example, the tolling for a case involving an out-of-state defendant will cease when the defendant returns to Florida.
The statute of limitations for personal injury due to negligence is four years and two years for wrongful death. However, an exception exists when the victim dies of their injuries within four years of the cause of action. In this case, their legal representative may file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years from the date of death.
While these exceptions may seem straightforward, circumstances can make them complex. Consult an experienced personal injury attorney in Florida to understand how to apply them to your case.
Keep detailed records of your injury, including medical bills, doctor’s notes, and other relevant documents. They can help your personal injury lawyer give you the best advice about your case.
Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer Before Time Runs Out
Florida’s personal injury statute of limitations is generally stable, but complications may still arise. You should not take the risk of your claim being barred due to an expired time limit. Talk to a lawyer about the time frame of your case.
Visit The Personal Injury Center to learn about various legal issues related to car accidents or premises liability. We provide many resources for personal injury cases in the US, Canada, and Australia.
You can also go to the site to find the right lawyer to handle your case. We offer free consultations online so we can match you to an experienced personal injury lawyer in Florida.
Did you sustain injuries in an accident caused by another party’s negligence? Take action immediately. Visit The Personal Injury Center and book a free consultation today!
FAQs on Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury in Florida
A minor cannot file any type of legal action in Florida independently. Their parent, guardian, or guardian ad litem must file it for them. For settlements, the parent or guardian must obtain the court's approval for an agreement over $15,000. This requirement protects the best interests of the child.
Section 768.20 of the Florida Statutes provides legal standing to the personal representative to file a wrongful death case on behalf of the decedent's estate. The representative will identify the family members dependent on the decedent in the claim.
Section 744.331 of the Florida Statutes describes the process of determining the mental capacity of a personal injury victim. The process involves a team of three qualified examiners who will thoroughly observe the alleged incapacitated subject. Subsection (6)(b) states that someone unable to exercise their delegable rights (contract, sue, defend) have a mental incapacity.