The Statute of Limitations in Florida Personal Injury CasesGet a Free Consultation
If you get injured in an accident in Florida, you may be eligible for financial compensation from the person or party at fault. However, a strict time limit applies to personal injury claims in Florida that, if broken, will bar an injured victim from seeking a monetary recovery. This law is called the statute of limitations. To learn your statute of limitations, contact the Tampa personal injury lawyers at Vanguard Attorneys.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on a Personal Injury Case in Florida?
As of March 2023, two years is the new statute of limitations on most personal injury cases in Florida, under Section 95.11 of the Florida Statutes. This filing deadline applies to most civil actions that are founded on negligence, or the failure to use proper care. The new two-year deadline is half of what the previous statute of limitations allowed (four years). This could negatively impact accident victims and rush them into settlements.
The two-year rule applies to all of the following types of claims:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Commercial truck accidents
- Uber and Lyft accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Premises liability lawsuits
- Product liability claims
- Medical malpractice claims
- Wrongful death lawsuits
A wrongful death claim is unique in that the clock will start ticking on the date of the victim’s death rather than the date of the accident or incident, if these two dates differ. Medical malpractice claims also have a statute of repose, or maximum time limit, of four years, regardless of the date of injury discovery.
Exception for Claims Against the Government
Most states have special laws surrounding injury claims brought against government entities. Sovereign immunity laws protect the government from many forms of liability. In response, states pass Tort Claim Acts that waive sovereign immunity in certain circumstances. These acts come with special deadlines. In Florida, the statute of limitations on a claim against the government is three years from the date of the accident or injury discovery, in most cases.
Circumstances That Could Toll the Statute of Limitations
In some scenarios, the courts may toll – extend – the statute of limitations on a personal injury case. An example is the discovery rule. Under this rule, if an accident victim does not discover his or her injuries immediately, the clock on the statute of limitations will not start ticking until the date of reasonable injury discovery.
Personal injury cases involving injured minors also have an extended deadline; the clocks will not commence until the date that the victim turns 18. Finally, if a case involves a defendant who is facing criminal charges for the same incident, the civil statute of limitations may be paused until the resolution of the criminal case.
What Happens if You Miss Your Statute of Limitations?
Claimants should view the statute of limitations listed for their type of claim as a fixed deadline; they should not assume an exception applies that extends the time limit to file. For the most part, the civil courts in Florida strictly adhere to the applicable statute of limitations for a personal injury case.
Filing past the deadline will most likely result in the courts refusing to hear a case. This means the accident victim will be barred from seeking a financial recovery, with no legal outlet available for compensation in the future. For this reason, it is critical to contact a lawyer in Tampa as soon as possible about a potential claim.