Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury in Florida
If you were hurt because someone failed to act with reasonable care, you may seek compensation for the associated damages. It’s important to remember, however, that you have a limited amount of time to take action.
When it comes to personal injury suits, every state has strict filing deadlines. Called statutes of limitations, these deadlines are in place to protect both plaintiffs and defendants. They prompt plaintiffs to proceed while critical evidence is hopefully still available, and they keep defendants from being held liable for transgressions after an unreasonable amount of time has passed.
If you sustained injuries in some kind of preventable accident in Florida and you want to take action against the liable party, here’s what you should know about the state’s filing deadlines:
1. You May Have as Many as Four Years to File Suit
The standard statute of limitations for personal injury suits is four years. Since the discovery rule applies, that means claimants typically have four years from the date on which their injuries were discovered or should have been discovered through reasonable diligence to file a formal lawsuit. In other words, if their injuries were not immediately apparent, they may have more than four years from the date on which they were actually hurt to proceed.
2. Suits Against Government Entities Have Shorter Deadlines
If you’ll be taking action against a government entity, you must submit written notice to the appropriate agency and allow for a 180-day investigation before proceeding. If the government denies your claim, you’ll have three years from the date on which you were hurt to file a suit.
3. Some Scenarios Can Toll the Statute of Limitations
There are a number of exceptions to the filing deadlines that can essentially “stop the clock.” Common scenarios that can toll the statute of limitations include the following:
- The defendant has fled the state of Florida (or has entered hiding to avoid being served);
- The victim was mentally incapacitated prior to the accident; and
- The liable party concealed evidence or misrepresented facts regarding the claim.
4. The Court Could Dismiss Your Case
Most legitimate personal injury claims are settled because neither party wants to take on the hassle of going to court. If the opposing party disputes liability or otherwise proves uncooperative, though, filing a formal lawsuit may be the only way to pursue the compensation you deserve.
As such, it’s important to keep the applicable statute of limitations in mind from day one. If you attempt to go to trial after the deadline has passed, the judge will likely dismiss your case. This, in turn, will leave you with no financial recourse.
Discuss Your Claim with a Personal Injury Attorney in West Palm Beach
If you were seriously hurt through no fault of your own, contact Donaldson & Weston. We combine the knowledge and resources of a large firm with the personal touch of a small practice. Call 561-299-3999 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in West Palm Beach.