25 Nov

Don’t Miss Your Chance: Understanding How The Statute Of Limitations Works For Injury Law In Florida!

Personal Injury

Don’t Miss Your Chance: Understanding How The Statute Of Limitations Works For Injury Law In Florida!

If you were injured in an accident – a car accident, a motorcycle accident, a bad fall, or something else – that wasn’t your fault, you have a legal right to seek compensation for the costs of your medical treatment, lost wages, and pain you experienced. However, you only have that legal right for a set amount of time. 

Most people don’t know this, but the state of Florida puts “deadlines” on when injured accident victims can come forward to make a claim and say, “Hey, I was wrongfully injured due to someone else’s negligence, and I deserve monetary damages.”. These deadlines are legally referred to as the statute of limitations. 

Here are a few things you should know about how the statute of limitations works for injury law in Florida so that you don’t miss your chance to maximize your claim and get the financial justice you deserve! 

**This blog was updated in 2024 to reflect the most recent changes to Florida laws.**

The statute of limitations is (generally) two years for personal injury.

Per a new Florida bill signed into law by DeSantis, injured plaintiffs in Florida now have two years from the date the accident/injury occurred, or when it was discovered/became apparent, or when it “reasonably should have been discovered” to bring a lawsuit against an allegedly negligent defendant. This applies to auto accidents, slip and falls on someone else’s property, and other forms of negligence. (The statute used to be four years.)

This means that if you were hurt in a motorcycle accident that was caused by a driver who wasn’t paying attention, for example, on December 1st, 2024, you have until December 1st, 2026 to file a lawsuit against their insurance company. 

You should never wait until the statute of limitations is almost up to file your claim; ideally, you should file it as soon as possible. The purpose of the statute of limitations is to make sure that evidence is readily available and that the injuries can be closely traced back to the negligence that allegedly caused them. The longer you wait, not only do you run the risk that something will occur to cause you to miss the statute of limitations, but you also run the risk that the defense will be able to successfully argue that something else occurred in that time frame to cause your injuries – not their negligence – so they are not responsible for paying you compensation. 

There are a few exceptions to the statute of limitations. 

If it is a claim of medical malpractice –

If your injury was caused by a medical professional’s negligence, you only have two years from the date you discovered or should have discovered the injury to file a claim. 

For example, if unnecessary surgery was performed, and you got an infection that necessitated further surgery or more medical treatment, you have from the date you noticed the infection until two years to file a claim. 

There is a gray area here, because some injuries caused by medical malpractice come on slowly or don’t exactly have “definable” dates (like a missed diagnosis, for example), so it is never recommended to wait until the full two years are up or almost up. 

If it is a claim of wrongful death –

If the accident caused the death of a family member, your family can file a wrongful death claim for compensation, but you only have two years from the date of death to do so. 

If the injury occurred on the job – 

The statute of limitations in Florida is two years for workers’ compensation claims – any injuries that were sustained at work. 

If it is a claim of child sexual assault – 

Sexually assaulting a child is a crime, but it is also punishable in civil court; defendants may be forced to pay monetary damages to the victims. Florida has eliminated the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse claims because some children don’t reveal the abuse until much later in life, either because they fear retribution or don’t understand the situation. 

If a minor was the one injured – 

If the victim was under 18 years old, the statute of limitations countdown will not start until their 18th birthday, unless they are under age 11; the deadline expires seven years after the accident, regardless of their age.

When the defendant is a government entity –

If you are injured due to the negligence of a government entity – maybe you were injured in an auto accident involving public transportation or were hit by a government vehicle, or maybe you slipped and fell on a poorly maintained city sidewalk – you have to put the agency on notice of the claim in writing within three years of the incident. You can’t file a lawsuit until after a 180 day investigation period. If the claim is denied, you can then file a lawsuit, but that also must be filed within three years of the incident. (Additionally, you should know that damages are capped at $200-$300,000 total when the government is the defendant, depending on the case.)

If you were incapacitated by your injury – 

The statute of limitations may be extended to seven years if you are in a coma or are undergoing multiple surgeries or are hospitalized for a long period of time due to your injuries. A claim of incapacitation can extend the typical four year statute of limitations in Florida so you can heal to the point of being able to file a lawsuit.

If the defendant fled the state or tried to conceal themselves – 

If the defendant you would be suing left the state or tried to hide before you could serve them with a lawsuit, the statute of limitations may be paused while you (or your attorney, or the authorities) try to locate them. 

If you miss the statute of limitations, you may lose your right to bring a lawsuit. 

Regardless of what exceptions do or do not apply to your case, if you miss the deadline specific to your situation, you won’t be able to proceed with your lawsuit. The court will likely throw the case out (unless there is some extenuating circumstance they need to consider). 

Think you have a case? Don’t wait to take action! 

Waiting too long to get legal advice and file a claim for injuries caused by someone else’s negligence could be one of the worst mistakes you’ll make – you could potentially lose out on tens of thousands of dollars in compensation you would have otherwise been able to recover.

At The Florida Law Group, we’re standing by ready to help you determine whether or not you have a case and act now! Our experienced attorneys are dedicated to winning, and we have won over $1 billion in injury claims for our clients. Call today to schedule a completely free consultation and learn more about your next steps! There’s no risk, no obligation, and no fee until we win.