You may have heard of the term “Statute of Limitations.”  This term is commonly used to refer to a law that tells you how long you have to file a lawsuit against a person who has wronged you.  In Florida, if you have been injured as the result of another’s negligence, you have four years to file a lawsuit against the person who injured you.  The Statute of Limitations can be found at Fla. Stat. 95.11(3)(a).  It is important to understand that in Florida, there exists many different statute of limitations.  For purposes of this post, we will limit our discussion to the statute of limitations for general negligence.  Please note that medical negligence and malpractice have a very different time period for purposes of calculated the time that a lawsuit must be filed under the Statute of Limitations.

If a person fails to file the lawsuit within the four year limitations period, the claim or case will most likely be forever barred.  The important date to keep in mind when calculating a Statute of Limitations is the date that the incident occurs that caused your injury.  For example; if you are involved in a motor vehicle crash on July 23, but you do not discovery your injury from the crash until the following day, the Statute of Limitations will be calculated from July 23.

In a very limited number of circumstances, the Statute of Limitations could be extended if certain circumstances and criteria are met.  Sometime a Statute of Limitations can be “tolled” or extended in limited circumstances such as mental incompetence of the injured person or if the claim for the injured person accrued while the person was a minor.  However, regardless of if there is a situation where the Statute of Limitation may be tolled, it is always more advisable to file your lawsuit prior to the expiration of the time period and not rely on a tolling or extension.    It is important to discuss with any potential lawyer the Statute of Limitations prior to when you hire them.
In this post, we primarily discussed the time period for negligence and personal injury cases, but there are many other types of cases that have statutes of limitations such as Medical Malpractice, Professional Malpractice, Liable and Slander, Breach of Contract, Fraud, Damage to Property, and many others.  Make sure you know the applicable Statute of Limitations when considering your claim.

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