The Clock is Ticking: Understanding the Florida Statute of Limitations
Consider the following situation: you’re driving down Interstate 10 or Interstate 95 and another car slams into your vehicle. The damage is extensive and you suffered serious injuries requiring hospitalization and physical therapy. If you find yourself in this situation, understand that you do not have an infinite period of time to take legal action. In fact, from the day of the accident, an invisible clock has been ticking.
The Florida legislature established a finite period of time during which a personal injury case can be filed in a Florida court. This is the statute of limitations and once it expires, your ability to file a legal claim against the at-fault party is gone forever. In essence, the court loses its jurisdiction and is no longer able to hear a case against the at-fault driver.
One of the most frustrating and heartbreaking aspects of this job is taking a call from someone who was seriously hurt in an accident with thousands of dollars in outstanding medical bills, but who waited too long to call a lawyer, thus allowing the statute of limitations to expire. Our heart goes out to them, but at that point, there’s nothing that can be done.
Which Statute of Limitations Applies to My Case?
This is an important question to have answered sooner rather than later. Florida law features different statutes of limitations depending on the type of case. For instance, the statute of limitation to file a personal injury claim is four years, starting from the date of the injury. However, if your claim is based on an injury caused by the negligence of a doctor, you only have two years from the date of the injury or date of the discovery of the harm, to file a lawsuit. If you’re claim is based on a slander claim, you, once again, only have two years to take legal action. Another consideration is whether you or an injured loved one is a minor. If you’re under the age of 18, you get additional time to file a lawsuit. Understand, the statute of limitations is a creation of the Florida legislature and can be modified, or a new limit created out of nowhere. For example, a three-year statute of limitation was recently enacted for claims involving hurricane and windstorm damage and a two-year statute of limitation was created specifically for claims involving sinkholes.
Figuring out which statute of limitation applies to your case must be done sooner rather than later so you know exactly how much time you have to take legal action.
Since the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is four years in Florida, this generally applies to most car accident injury claims. However, there are additional exceptions that must be considered (e.g., whether you were hit by a vehicle owned by the state, city, or locality).
Don’t Let More Time Slip By – Contact a Jacksonville Personal Injury Lawyer Today
As you can see, the issue of determining the statute of limitations can get complicated. This is why you need to take action now and contact the experienced Jacksonville personal injury legal team at Gillette Law, P.A. today. It costs you nothing to call the office and set up a free, confidential, no-pressure consultation.