Personal Injury Lawyer explaining the Statute of Limitations in Florida

Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in Florida – The Practical Guide

date iconFebruary 27, 2023

In the State of Florida, personal injury claims are governed by the Florida Statute of Limitations for personal injury. These laws determine how long an injured person has to file a personal injury lawsuit, and pursue legal action against the responsible party. This means that if you’re in any type of personal injury accident, such as a slip and fall case, an auto accident, or a pedestrian accident, there is a limited time window in which you can file a claim pertaining to your case, and the time given is dependent on case type.

What Is the Duration of The Statute of Limitations in Florida?

The Florida Statute of Limitations for personal injury is four (4) years from the date of the incident for most case types based on negligence. This means that if you were injured on February 5, 2021, you would have until February 4th, 2025 to file a personal injury claim, if you wanted to pursue legal action. Examples of case types that fall under the 4-year limitation include:

After the statute of limitations has passed, you would be unable to file a lawsuit related to your incident.

Can The Statute of Limitations Be Extended or Shortened Beyond the General Four (4) Years?

Yes, there are several case types in which the general rule of four (4) years for personal injury lawsuits are extended or shortened. You may see this when:

  1. Examples of when the Statute of Limitations for personal injury are shortened is during civil injury cases that are not based on negligence. In these cases, such as medical malpractice, or workers compensation, the Statute of Limitations is two (2) years.
  2. Other examples of when the Statute of Limitations is shortened is when taking legal action against nursing home abuse, which is two (2) years typically, as is, wrongful death.
  3. With dangerous or defective product cases, there is an additional Statute of Repose, which requires that the injured victim must bring the product liability claim within 12 years from the date of manufacture, or the date of sale of the product. However, the injured victim must file a lawsuit within the 4 year general statute of limitations from the date of the injury; or within 2 years of the incident or accident if there is a wrongful death claim.

While these rules can be complex, it is important to be aware of them to ensure that you are filing your case within the appropriate time frame. It is always recommended that you consult with an attorney immediately following your accident to make sure that you’re not missing any time-sensitive deadlines and that your rights are fully protected.

Possible Exceptions: Medical Malpractice, & Sexual Abuse Statutes

Medical Malpractice

For medical malpractice, you only have two (2) years from the date you knew or should have known the malpractice occurred to make a claim, but the court may provide an exception if the case involves an incident where the plaintiff could not have realized their injury right away. An example of this would be if a medical instrument was left inside the patient, which was found months later. In these cases, the individual may still be able to make a claim, as the Statute of Limitations for personal injury would begin upon the discovery of their injury.

Sexual Abuse

In cases where there is sexual abuse of a minor, the Florida PIP Statutes are extended indefinitely if the minor is under the age of 16. In cases other than this, the limitation may be extended up to seven (7) years after the individual turns 18 or four (4) years after they are no longer dependent on the defendant. Also, the victim must file a lawsuit within four (4) years from the time the victim discovers a link between a related injury and the abuse.

How To Determine When the Clock Begins Ticking Down in a Personal Injury Case?

The Statute of Limitations for personal injury generally starts from the date when the injury occurs. If a plaintiff files their claim past this time frame, they may lose out on their legal right to compensation. It’s important to note that in certain scenarios, victims may be unaware of the harm done until well after it has transpired; in these cases, one of two things may happen:

  • In cases like medical malpractice or sexual abuse, if the injury is discovered later on, the Florida courts may decide that the statute of limitations clock begins ticking down on the date of discovery rather than the date of injury.
  • In cases where circumstances prevent the case from moving forward, the courts may “toll” or pause the statute of limitations. Examples of this would be if the defendant flees the jurisdiction, if there is a natural disaster, or if the plaintiff becomes temporarily incapacitated.

To be clear, in wrongful death cases, which normally have a two (2) year statute of limitations, the deadline begins on the date of death. This could be weeks, months, or years after their accident, but if they pass away on the same date as their injury, the clock begins then. It is important to note that the 2-year rule for wrongful death cases does not toll the general four (4) year statute of limitations.

Discuss Your Case with An Experience Attorney Today!

Navigating the Florida Statute of Limitations in personal injury cases can be complex and time-sensitive. It is important to know when these statutes start ticking down, so that you do not miss out on your legal right to compensation. If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, our team here at Personal Injury of Florida is here to help. We’ve handled hundreds of personal injury claims, and have helped people just like you obtain the compensation they deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation and to discuss how we can help you with your case.