Understanding the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Lawsuits
First of all, it’s important to understand what a statue of limitations actually is: “A statute of limitations is a law that sets the maximum amount of time that parties involved in a dispute have to initiate legal proceedings from the date of an alleged offense, whether civil or criminal.”
Therefore, the statute of limitations is the deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Florida. If a victim does not file within this timeline, the claim can be thrown out regardless of how clear liability is.
The general statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in Florida is four years. This time limit begins on the date of the accident. It is important to note that in some situations, the statute of limitations may be shorter. For example, if the claim is against a governmental agency, the statute of limitations is only three years. Furthermore, there are some exceptions to the statute of limitations:
In rare circumstances, a personal injury may not be discovered for some time after an accident or incident, such as in situations involving medical malpractice. If this injury was not and could not have been discovered, the statute of limitations can be extended for two years after the discovery of the injury. There is also an exception for fraud. If fraud prevented the injury from being discovered, the statute of limitations can be extended by two years from the date of the discovery of the injury. However, in any event, the lawsuit must be brought within seven years from when the cause of action arose.
The statute of limitations can also be tolled or put on pause in certain situations, allowing a personal injury victim more time to file a lawsuit. A tolling of the statute of limitations may occur if the defendant is absent from the state of Florida or try to conceal his or her location to avoid service of process. The statute of limitations can also be tolled based on the mental incapacity of the victim. If the victim was mentally incapacitated before the time of the injury, the statute of limitations may be paused during this period of incapacity. The statute of limitations begins to run when the victim’s capacity is restored. However, in any event, the lawsuit must be filed within seven years from the date of injury.”