If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury due to another person’s negligence, medical malpractice, a defective product or unsafe workplace conditions, you need to pay close attention to the filing deadline -- known in legal terms as a statute of limitations -- that applies to your case.
The statute of limitations is the period of time that you have to file a lawsuit after the event that caused your injury. If you miss this deadline, you can forever lose your right to recover money for the damages you’ve suffered. A few factors, such as a victim's age, can extend or toll the filing deadline. In some cases, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until a hidden injury is discovered.
The statute of repose is a related limitation. This is the absolute deadline for filing a lawsuit related to your claim.
Because of these strict time limits, it’s important to immediately contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Gordon & Doner, P.A., if you have been harmed by another’s conduct. We provide free and confidential consultations with no obligations. We can help you determine which statute of limitations applies to your case and how long you have to take legal action.
Determining the Statute of Limitations
To determine whether the time for filing your lawsuit has expired, a five-step process is used:
- Decide what type of action you have, such as personal injury, wrongful death, medical malpractice, product liability or workers’ compensation.
- Find the applicable statute of limitations. For most Florida lawsuits, those time periods can be found under Chapter 95 of the Florida General Statutes.
- Determine the date of the event that caused your injury or when you discovered it.
- Decide whether the statute of limitations has been “tolled,” meaning the clock did not start running on your claim because certain circumstances existed.
- Find the applicable statute of repose, which can also be found under Chapter 95 of the Florida General Statutes.
A Closer Look at Florida Laws
The following are statutes of limitations for claims commonly handled by the Florida personal injury lawyers of Gordon & Doner:
The statute of limitations for any personal injury lawsuit based on negligence is four years from the date of injury or the date when the injury was discovered or reasonably should have been discovered. This would include lawsuits stemming from most car, truck, motorcycle, drunk driving, boat and aviation accidents, as well as slip and fall cases. The same four-year statute of limitations applies for personal injuries caused by intentional torts, such as assault, battery, false arrest, malicious prosecution, malicious interference or false imprisonment.
Keep in mind that any personal injury action that is pending at the time of a person’s death will automatically terminate. A wrongful death action would need to be filed instead.
The statute of limitations for a wrongful death action is two years from the date of the death. However, if the death is caused by medical malpractice, then the medical malpractice time limitations apply.
Generally, a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit alleging medical malpractice must be filed within two years from the date the malpractice incident occurred or within two years from the date the incident is discovered or reasonably should have been discovered. In no event can an action be filed more than four years after the date of the incident unless the action is brought on behalf of a minor on or before the child’s eighth birthday.
If fraud, concealment or intentional misrepresentation of fact prevented discovery of the injury, the period of limitations is extended for two years from the date the injury is discovered or reasonably should have been discovered. However, in no event can an action be filed more than seven years after the date of the malpractice incident unless it is brought on behalf of a minor on or before the child’s eighth birthday.
Like a negligence action, the statute of limitations for most product liability claims is four years from the date of injury or from the date when the injury was discovered or reasonably should have been discovered.
The statute of repose generally bars any product liability action, including personal injury or wrongful death, if the harm was caused by exposure to use or use of the product more than 12 years after delivery of the product to the first purchaser or lessee.
Under Florida’s workers’ compensation law, an employee or a deceased employee’s family must file a petition for benefits within two years from the date the employee or family knew or should have reasonably known that the employee’s injury or death was the result of a work-related injury or illness.
With a workers’ compensation action, two other time limits must also be considered. First, an employee must report the injury or illness to the employer within 30 days from the date of injury or illness, or when the condition was “manifest.” Second, a claim is no longer open more than one year from the date of the last medical treatment or payment of compensation if the injury or illness occurred before January 1, 1994. If the condition occurred after January 1, 1994, that period is two years.
Contact Our Personal Injury Lawyers Today
If you believe you have been harmed by another person's wrongful conduct, immediately contact the personal injury lawyers at Gordon & Doner, P.A. Do not lose your right to monetary compensation because the statute of limitations has expired.
For a free, confidential and no-obligation consultation, call us toll-free at 1 (855) 722-2552 or use our online contact form.
We represent clients in West Palm Beach, Martin County, Stuart, Pembroke Pines, Miami and throughout Florida. We get paid for our costs only if we recover damages for you. Let us invest our experience in your case.