Imagine you were involved in a car accident. At the time of the incident, you may have assumed that your injuries were minor and would heal soon, but they’re still lingering. Or imagine you brought your car in for repairs a few months ago and learned—only after you were in a collision—that your brake fluid has been leaking.
In these instances, can you still file a lawsuit, despite not discovering the damage initially? Fortunately, if you are still within the “statute of limitations,” you can.
Florida Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations refers to a timeframe during which an individual needs to file a lawsuit. If you do not file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations, you will not be able to pursue legal action.
Florida’s statute of limitations establishes the following time periods for filing negligence claims:
- Personal injury – You can file a personal injury lawsuit four years from the date of the event that caused injury.
- Wrongful death – You can file a wrongful death lawsuit two years from the date of the event that caused death.
- Medical malpractice – You can file a medical malpractice lawsuit two years from the date of the event or two years from the date that the injury was discovered or should have been discovered in the exercise of due diligence (cannot be later than four years from the date of the event).
- Claims against local government – You can file a lawsuit against a city, county, or state government entity three years from the date of the injury.
A statute of limitations is in place for various reasons. The most important aspect is to maintain the integrity of evidence, personal accounts, and witness testimony. Over time, some evidence—and even memory—can deteriorate. So for a fair trial to occur, the suit must be initiated within the statute of limitations.