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Understanding Florida’s Statue of Limitations

Categories:Law in Florida

The unthinkable happens: you have been injured in an accident or through another’s actions through no fault of your own. Now you are faced with physical and psychological pain, recovery, potential automobile bills or claims, and time away from work—among other financial burdens. Despite everything you are going through, you still may wonder if you really should pursue a civil lawsuit against the at-fault party. Lawsuits can seem intimidating and daunting. Potential claimants may be nervous about how long the lawsuit will take or the possibility of testifying. Maybe, you think, you will simply take some time to mull everything over. After all, it never hurts to sleep on a big decision, does it?

Well, if you sleep on a big decision too long, sometimes, unfortunately, it does hurt. Statutes of limitations differ depending on the type of lawsuit one files, but statutes of limitations generally govern the time limit within which one may file a lawsuit.

What is a statute of limitations? 

A statute of limitations is a time limit within which a lawsuit must be filed. If one does not file within that window, the right to file the lawsuit is permanently forfeited: the courts no longer have jurisdiction to punish those responsible; the injured and/or his family may not seek damages for expenses, losses, and other monetary compensation. In Florida, statutes of limitations for cases vary depending on the particular case. Statutes of limitations vary from a mere thirty days to twenty years.

Although statutes of limitations may seem arbitrary, they do serve a purpose.  They exist because, naturally, over time, evidence may not be available due to destruction or purging, memories fade, and records may no longer exist. Also, statutes of limitations exist to require potential claimants to act with a certain degree of haste so that others will not spend their lives wondering if they may eventually be faced with a lawsuit for actions taken years ago.

What are some different statutes of limitations in Florida for various lawsuits?

Wrongful death – two years from the date of death

Personal injury – four years from the date of the accident resulting in the injury

Medical malpractice – two years from the act that caused the injury, or two years from the date the injury should have been detected, but no more than four years from the act that caused the injury. (Please note that exceptions to this statute of limitations exist).

Automobile accidents – four years from the date of the accident (the exception to this is an underinsured/uninsured motorist claim, in which case it is five years)

Product liability – four years from the date of the incident resulting in the injury

The statute dictating statutes of limitations in Florida is Florida Stat. sec. 95.11.

As time is of the essence in filing any lawsuit, it is imperative that one speaks with an attorney as soon as possible after one suffers injuries and/or damages as a result of another’s actions. The skilled attorneys at Brooks Law Group are here to help. Call us today to answer your questions, help determine whether you are entitled to compensation, and to ensure that your claim is filed within the required statute of limitations.

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