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Florida's Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims

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Florida’s Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims

When it comes to going after compensation for a personal injury, no one wants to wait longer than necessary. But the reality is it could end up on the back burner while you’re juggling treatment and your everyday life. Or it may have taken weeks or months to realize the extent of your injuries. While it is always in your best interest to pursue a case as soon as possible, the law does allow some leeway.

What is the Statute of Limitations?

If you’ve been wronged by a person, business, or other entity and you plan to take legal action, you will have to work with certain restrictions. One of them is a time limit. There are laws, or statutes, that require plaintiffs to begin legal proceedings within a certain number of days, months, or years after the inciting incident.

Motor Vehicle Accident Statute of Limitations in Florida

In most cases, those injured in motor vehicle accidents within the State of Florida have four years from the date of the accident to lodge a claim. However, there are some exceptions to that rule. If car accident victims have extremely extensive injuries that prevent them from taking legal action, their time frame can be extended to seven years. Another exception is if significant new information comes to light. For example, if the driver of a hit and run accident is identified, that can buy a plaintiff more time.

Slip and Fall Statute of Limitations in Florida

Similarly to most other personal injuries, the statute of limitations for slip and falls is four years, however, it’s important to seek treatment and take action quickly. Some of the most common slip and fall injuries, such as head injuries, hip fractures, and spine injuries, also happen because of a variety of other accidents. The longer you wait, the easier it will be for the negligent defendant and defending lawyer to deny responsibility for your injuries.

Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations in Florida

Florida’s statute of limitations of medical malpractice lawsuits is just two years. That two year clock begins at the date of discovery rather than the date the malpractice happened. For example, if a doctor misdiagnoses a critical illness in January, and the real diagnosis is made in December of the same year, the patient has two years from the December date to take legal action.

Similarly, if the victim of medical malpractice is significantly incapacitated, the two year period can be tolled – delayed until the patient is able to pursue a case. Say, for instance, a botched surgery leaves a patient in a coma for several months. It’s reasonable to expect that the months when the patient was unconscious shouldn’t be counted in the two year period.

Even in exceptional situations, it is incredibly difficult to pursue a medical malpractice case beyond the four year mark because Florida has an extremely rigid limitation called the statute of repose. If it can be proved that a healthcare provider hid or misrepresented information or engaged in fraud, a victim of medical malpractice can get an extension up to seven years from the date of the injury. Otherwise, it is unlikely a case will be accepted.  There are very few exceptions, one being cases on behalf of minors under the age of eight.

Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Florida

When a victim passes away because of a negligent party, a personal representative of the deceased’s estate has two years from the date of the death to file a wrongful death claim. If the negligent party is also involved in the accident, it’s possible he or she will not survive either. And if that person dies while the lawsuit is active, the representative of the victim’s side has to file a motion to continue the lawsuit against the other estate. This has to be done within 90 days.

Nursing Home Abuse Statute of Limitations in Florida

Like wrongful deaths and medical malpractice lawsuits, nursing home abuse lawsuits must be initiated within two years. The typical nursing home residents are more vulnerable than the general population. Close to six million Americans who are 65 and older live with Alzheimer’s, and that’s just one of the conditions that make it difficult for residents to report and take legal action when they’re abused.

In many situations, family members aren’t immediately aware, and they’re usually the ones who will have to pursue a case on behalf of their loved one. That’s why the two year clock starts when the abuse is discovered.

Contact the Personal Injury Attorneys at Jones Law Group

Even if the statute of limitations isn’t approaching, it’s best to begin the legal process as soon as possible while memories are freshest and evidence is most readily available.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident of any kind, you will feel at ease working with an experienced attorney who makes sure you meet all necessary deadlines and requirements in your personal injury case. The legal team of Jones Law is both thorough and persistent. We will analyze your case in detail, and we will work diligently until you’ve received maximum compensation. Initial consultations are free. Contact us online or by phone at 727-571-1333.

Heath Murphy

About the Author

Heath Murphy is a partner at Jones Law Group and focuses on personal injury law. He has been working as a lawyer for 18 years and routinely writes about auto accidents, wrongful death, and personal injury laws.

Read more: Heath’s Bio