In Florida, many personal injury cases have a four-year statute of limitations. This means that you must file your legal claim within four years of the date of your injury, usually by working with a Florida personal injury lawyer, like the team at Flaxman Law Group. However, there are several things you need to know about the statute of limitations and how it could impact your case:
The statute of limitations can depend on your case
In Florida, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases that are caused by negligence have a four-year statute of limitations. This covers car crashes, wrongful death claims, and premises liability claims.
If your case is not based on negligence, you may only have two years to file a claim. Workers’ comp, medical malpractice, and other similar claims have a 2-year statute of limitations.
Some cases, such as products liability claims, may have a statute of limitations between 2-4 years, depending on the specifics of the situations. Claims against the government are subject to different laws and may have different statutes of limitations.
The clock may start when you’re injured
In most cases, the clock starts ticking when you’re injured, and if you wait until after the statute of limitations expires, you’ll have lost out on the chance to file a claim.
In some cases, though, the clock begins ticking when a plaintiff is first aware of their injury. For example, if a plaintiff finds out they have gotten cancer from an unsafe product, the clock starts ticking when they find out about the cancer and the link to the product.
In some cases, statutes of limitations are complex
In some claims, a defendant may flee, the plaintiff may be so injured they can’t pursue the claim, or a natural disaster may make moving forward with a claim impossible due to court closures. In these and other exceptional circumstances, Florida courts may choose to toll the statute of limitations. This effectively pauses the clock and gives plaintiffs with a legitimate case more time to file their claim.
Florida has also changed the statute of limitations in child sexual abuse cases. For minors under the age of 16, there is no statute of limitations. In some cases, the statute of limitations is 4 years after the abuse survivor is not longer the defendant’s dependant or 7 years after the survivor turns 18. If you want to pursue a claim under these rules, it may be important to consult with a personal injury claims attorney who can help you determine your statute of limitations.
Waiting can hurt your case, even if the clock hasn’t run out
Even if you file before the statute of limitations runs out, you may be hurting your case by waiting. If you wait to file, the defendant may claim you weren’t very injured, because you weren’t motivated to file early. There may naturally be questions about what made you hesitate.
Another problem with waiting is that evidence can go missing fast. In a premises liability case, security camera footage may get erased. Witnesses may forget important details. Black box information from a truck involved in a truck accident may be misplaced.
The sooner you take action, the more quickly an experienced personal injury attorney can start protecting evidence and can start building a strong case. Filing early or at least consulting with a lawyer soon after your injury can help you protect your rights, no matter what decision you make about your potential case.
Flaxman Law Group makes it easy to consult with an attorney soon after your injury. You can always reach a live person, at any time of the day or night, by dialing 866-352-9626. Just call to set up a free, no obligation case evaluation to discuss your potential case with a personal injury attorney. |we can answer your questions so you can make an informed decision about what to do next.