What You Need to Know About Florida’s Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
Personal injury cases and the statute of limitations for personal injury cases are difficult to navigate. Here is everything you need to know about the statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Florida.
Personal injury cases are legal disputes arising when an individual is injured or harmed on account of “someone else’s act or failure to act.” In Florida, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is 4 years, meaning an individual has up to 4 years to file a personal injury case before the incident can no longer be brought forth in court.
Making a Personal Injury Claim
In the case of an incident where another party’s negligence causes harm, an individual can file a personal injury lawsuit in Florida to receive compensation for the damages endured.
Personal Injury law is the occurrence of injury to a person’s being, emotions, or reputation.
Related: Florida Personal Injury FAQs
Courts typically raise personal injury claims on three legal grounds:
Negligence in the courts of law is the failure to behave with an appropriate level of care someone would normally have behaved with under the same circumstance. Negligent behavior can consist of actions but also include someone’s lack of action when called for. For example, a driver who fails to stop at a stop sign can be liable for negligence and a personal injury lawsuit if their failure to stop causes an injury crash.
2. Strict Liability
Strict Liability holds manufacturers strictly liable for any personal injuries resulting from a defective product. Under strict liability, the injured person does not need to claim negligence by the manufacturer, but rather prove the product’s design was damaging and dangerous when used as intended.
3. Intentional Wrongs
Intentional wrongs in personal injury cases occur from an intentional act by the accused party. Although acts intentionally causing injury to a person are typically tried as criminal cases, an individual can also claim personal injury in civil court. For example, if someone hits you as part of a practical joke, they can be held responsible for the injury inflicted.
Personal injury claims occur in the event another party has inflicted injury on an individual. Regardless of what legal ground the personal injury claim falls under, one must establish liability and damages. In particular, whether the accused is truly liable for the harm sustained, and, if so, what is the extent of the harm?
How does the Statute of Limitations Work?
Statutes of limitations are laws dictating how long after a certain event occurs that an individual can open or try a case in court. If the statute of limitations has passed, an individual can no longer file a claim in court. The statute of limitations aims to ensure fairness and protect the integrity of the case. Over long periods of time, evidence and memories can erode, comprising a fair trial. The statute of limitations helps ensure cases are tried in a fair and timely manner.
The statute of limitations can vary by state. To find the statute of limitations for Florida in particular, all statutes of limitations for the state of Florida can be found here.
Exceptions for Florida’s Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury
According to Florida Statutes Section 95.11(3), (a), the statute of limitations for personal injury is set at 4 years.
Despite this limitation, there are a few exceptions to the statute:
1. Discovery Rule
The Florida statute of limitations for personal injury applies when the victim first discovers the personal injury. Should a victim discover the injury after the initial incident, then the four-year statute of limitations begins after the victim has reasonably discovered the injury.
Tolling is a legal doctrine allowing for the statute of limitations to be delayed.
Florida Statutes Section 95.051 lists potential reasons the 4-year statute of limitations can be delayed:
Age: Minors classified as any individual under the age of 18 are given an extended statute of limitations. Minors have up to 7 years after the date of their injury to file a claim.
Missing or concealed defendant: If the accused individual has left Florida, or has hidden under a false identity, the 4-year statute of limitations begins once the defendant returns to Florida, or has been found.
It is important to note that Florida’s 4-year statute of limitations for personal injury may vary depending on the specific nature of each case.