Beat the Clock: Statute of Limitations in Injury Cases in Florida
Every state in the country has what is called a “statute of limitations” on personal injury civil cases.
We hear the term tossed around often; but what does it exactly mean?
A statute of limitations governs the amount of time an individual has to file a lawsuit in civil court against an individual or entity who may be legally liable for your injury or injuries.
The time limit varies from state to state, with some as short as one year (Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana ) and others as long as a decade (Oregon).
Statute of Limitations in Florida
Florida falls in the middle. You have four years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury lawsuit in Florida civil court, according to Florida law (95.11).
If you file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court in Florida after four years, your case almost certainly will be tossed out by the judge. In some rare cases, your injuries may not be realized or be apparent until after the limitations window. In those instances, your lawsuit filing period may be extended by a judge.
This is known as the discovery of harm rule. If following an accident, an individual reasonably could not have discovered an immediate injury, they may be allowed to file a personal injury lawsuit after the state statute of limitations. In typical injury cases, like slip and fall incidents, this would not come into play. But if a surgeon left a bandage or sponge inside of a patient, and the patient only discovered it and its ill-effects three years later, the patient likely wouldn’t be penalized for that with regard to the statute of limitations.
Statute of Limitations in Civil Suits Against the Government
A government, whether a municipal, town, city, county or state, can be held responsible if it causes harm to an individual or company. But while governments can be held liable for injuries, there are different rules when it comes to the statute of limitations put in place.
There are much quicker deadlines and more formal rules to file a civil suit against the government.
Ordinarily, you would just follow the four-year statute of limitations governing these type of cases. But when a government entity is involved, the rules change slightly.
If you’re filing a personal injury claim against a government entity in Florida, including city, county and state governments, you must file the lawsuit within three years of your injury.
These deadlines range from state to state. In some places, the statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim against a county, for example, can be as quickly as 60 days. Others follow 90 or 120-day rules. Others, like Florida, knock off one year from the statute of limitations for government entities.
Considering Filing A Personal Injury Lawsuit In Broward County?
If you’ve been injured in Broward County and need advice, contact the lawyers at Boone & Davis today. Our attorneys can help you decide whether filing a personal injury lawsuit is in your best interests — and how long you have to file such a suit in civil court in Florida.