Florida Lawmakers Reduce Statute Of Limitations For Personal Injury Cases
In late March, House Bill 837 officially went into effect, resulting in sweeping tort reform across the state of Florida. While the new law changed a variety of longstanding state laws, one of the most important involved a reduction of the statute of limitations for the filing of personal injury lawsuits from four to two years. This shortened deadline is expected to have a significant impact on accident victims, who now have half the time to seek compensation from the parties whose negligence caused their injuries.
What is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations is a legal deadline that sets the maximum amount of time that an injured party has to file a lawsuit against a negligent defendant. These deadlines were put in place to help prevent important evidence from degrading. Eyewitnesses, for instance, may forget the details of their testimonies, which in turn can affect the outcome of a case. Similarly, plaintiffs may misplace important documentation that could help prove their damages. Having a specific deadline in place helps avoid these kinds or problems, giving plaintiffs a better chance of filing a successful claim.
What is the New Statute of Limitations?
For decades, Florida plaintiffs have had four years to file a personal injury claim. As a result of the passing of the new law, however, this amount of time will be cut in half for personal injury claims moving forward. The shortened statute of limitations will apply to all negligence-based causes of action that accrue after March 24th of this year. The limitations period for other kinds of claims, however, including those based on the negligent design, manufacture, or sale of consumer products, will remain unchanged.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
In most cases, statutes of limitations start running on the date of the accident that caused a plaintiff’s injury. This means that someone who was injured in a car crash would have two years from the date of that accident to seek recovery for his or her damages. Filing even a day after this deadline has passed could result in the case’s dismissal and the loss of a plaintiff’s chances to recover compensation. There are, however, a few exceptions to this rule, in which the deadline can be extended. Minors, for instance, are subject to different rules and usually have at least until they reach the age of majority to file a claim. There are also exceptions in cases where a plaintiff’s injury didn’t immediately present itself, or was so severe as to qualify as catastrophic. For help determining when the statute of limitations will start running in your own case, please call our legal team today.
Schedule a Free Case Review
To speak with an experienced Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer about how the new statute of limitations could affect your legal claim, call Boone & Davis today. You can set up a free consultation by calling our office at 954-566-9919 or by completing one of our online contact forms. Contact us today to get started on your case.