Have you been injured in an accident? It can be devastating to be involved in an accident that should have been prevented. The costs of another’s negligence can be quite high, not only in the financial sense, but also in the emotional and physical sense as well. If you’ve been injured, a natural next step is to determine whether you’re able to file a claim for compensation. What you may not realize, however, is that you have a limited time in which to do so.
What Is the Statute of Limitations in Florida?
Many types of cases are limited by a law called the statute of limitations, which specifies how much time a victim, called the plaintiff, has to file their case after an incident. Personal injury claims are subject to their own statute of limitations, which states that the plaintiff has 4 years since the date of the accident or injury to start their claim.
What If I Miss the Deadline?
It isn’t uncommon for injuries to become an issue years after an accident, or for you to finally decide to begin a claim after a critical piece of evidence comes to light. But what happens if you’ve waited too long to begin? Most likely, you won’t be able to pursue your claim.
If you attempt to file a lawsuit against the liable party after the statute of limitations has passed, it’s likely that they will move to have the case summarily dismissed. This means that you will lose your rights to recover compensation for your injuries, no matter how severe the damages are.
Missing the deadline doesn’t necessarily mean that your case is without purpose, however. There are some exceptions to the Florida personal injury statute of limitations, as seen below.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
There are several scenarios, identified in the law, which are considered grounds to extend the deadline beyond the standard four years. These situations include:
- The plaintiff was legally deemed incapacitated by a temporary or permanent mental illness at the time of the accident. This will extend the deadline to 7 years from the date of the accident, instead of only 4 years.
- The defendant left Florida after the accident, but before the lawsuit could be filed.
- The defendant tried to conceal themselves, change their identity, or otherwise prevent the lawsuit and court summons from being served.
There are more exceptions to the personal injury statute of limitations listed in Florida Statutes §95.051.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, but are unsure what steps to take next, it is important to seek legal counsel. Your personal injury lawyer can advise you of your legal options—especially if you’re nearing the end of the statute of limitations period or have already passed it.
At Paulsen Law Group, we’re committed to helping our injured clients pursue the compensation they are entitled to. Our Tampa Bay personal injury attorney is backed by more than 15 years of legal experience, and our results speak for themselves. Schedule a free assessment to discuss your case today.
Contact our firm to begin your case. Call (727) 270-8260.