Should Florida Raise The Statute Of Limitations For A Personal Injury Case?
Florida guidelines for the statute of limitations on personal injury cases currently extend for up to four years, meaning a personal injury victim has that amount of time to file a lawsuit after sustaining an injury. However, the 4-year time frame can also be altered in certain situations, not all of which necessarily benefit the victim. These circumstances include:
- Personal Injury Lawsuits Against the State Government: The statute of limitations decreases to three years – period.
- Discovery: This is the term for the formal process of exchanging information between parties about witnesses and evidence they’ll present at trial. Various revelations during this time may allow a victim to pause the statute.
- Legal Incapacitation: Florida allows statutes to pause temporarily when the court deems a person is no longer able to care for themselves or their affairs.
- Defendant Interference: If the defendant flees or impedes the case, the statute may be paused.
So, why raise the limit? Proponents of changing the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in Florida have cited the potential benefits, including:
- Justice for Workplace Injury Lawsuits: One of the most common personal injury lawsuits filed is a workplace personal injury case. However, many workers are intimidated by their employers and fail to file a lawsuit in time due to fear of repercussions from their companies. If the statute of limitations were to be extended, many of these cases would come to fruition as more employees speak out about their workplace environment hazards and how they became victims of such circumstances.
- Minimize Personal Intimidation: With more extended limits, employers would be discouraged in their attempts to coerce employees to drop their personal injury cases. Knowing that a longer statute of limitations exists, or that no statute exists at all, would temper companies from trying to intimidate their employees into submission due to repercussions down the road.
- Address Long-term Effects: You need not look further than the heroes at Ground Zero who worked tirelessly during and after 9/11. Although that is a tragically severe case of delayed reaction from workplace peril, it is a prime example of how injuries sustained while on the job may not become apparent until many years – even decades – later than when they were experienced. Unfortunately, there is always a chance that an injury at work causes a delayed reaction that only hurts a person years down the road. With a longer statute of limitations, it would be easier for those affected to pursue these cases and win.
Of course, there are downsides to raising this limit. Concerns raised in order to assure a fair and balanced examination of this issue include:
- Higher risk of people abusing the system for financial gain
- More significant caseloads suffocating the already overwhelmed judiciary system
- Businesses suffering financial struggles due to case payouts
In the end, there is no easy answer to this predicament. Four years does seem to provide most people with enough time to pursue a workplace personal injury case. However, many victims may need more time to recover while some may think they do not have the means to pursue a case. Many may not even realize that they have a case in the first place. It is imperative that the victim of a workplace injury contact a personal injury lawyer after a workplace accident – especially one who is experienced in these kind of personal injury lawsuits – in order to receive the compensation that they deserve.