Filing a personal injury, auto accident, or wrongful death lawsuit is a serious decision, so it’s perfectly understandable if you aren’t sure whether you should proceed. While it is important to take the time to consider all your options to arrive at the best decision for your situation, you don’t have unlimited time to do so. You’ll be bound by what is known as the statute of limitations. This essentially sets a time limit on how long you have to file a lawsuit. Here’s what you need to know to ensure you don’t miss the deadline to present your case.
Statute of Limitations Basics
Statutes of limitations are set by individual states, so the time periods you’ll be allowed for filing claims will vary from state to state. The length of time permitted varies as well, depending on the type of case. For the state of Florida, most types of cases have a statute of limitations in the range of two to five years. In the next sections, we’ll discuss the specific details for personal injury, auto accident, and wrongful death cases.
Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury cases arising from negligence in Florida have a statute of limitations of four years. Typically, this four years is measured from the date the incident in question took place. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. In some cases, an injury may not be readily apparent immediately after an accident. It may be several days, weeks, or even months before you feel the effects. This can sometimes be the case with medical side effects as well.
In cases such as these, the four-year clock would start when you first discovered the injury or illness. However, it is important to note that the court must grant your request for an extension of the statute of limitations. So, there is no guarantee of extra time. To err on the side of caution, it is best to bring your case forward as quickly as possible to ensure you don’t miss your opportunity.
Statute of Limitations for Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Cases
Because uninsured/underinsured motorist claims are based on a contract of insurance, the statute of limitations for such cases is five years. Again, this time period is measured from the date the incident in question took place.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Cases
Wrongful death cases, including those involving medical malpractice, have a statute of limitations of two years from the date of death. This is a shorter timeline than for auto accident and personal injury cases, so you’ll need to act quickly. While this can be challenging while you are mourning the loss of your loved one, it is important to get things moving if you hope to file a wrongful death suit. Once you get started, your attorneys will handle the bulk of the work, leaving you free to process your grief, knowing that your case is moving forward.