How quickly after an injury should I file suit?

How long do I have to file suit in my Injury Case?

In the state of Florida there are many complex time restrictions involved with lawsuits that constrain the time period in which the victim of an accident is legally permitted to file suit. This limit is called the statute of limitations and it applies differently to different types of cases.

While most accident injury cases in the state of Florida permit you up to 2 years to file suit, it is always better to begin the process as early as possible. The process of filing a car accident lawsuit takes longer than most people realize but motorists should know that each state has its own statute of limitations regarding how long a person has to file a lawsuit. The first step in filing a car accident lawsuit is to contact and hire an attorney. The attorney will be able to file the lawsuit against the defendant in the case and then head to the pre-litigation stage. During pre-litigation the attorney will process all of the damages that occurred and attempt to settle with the defendant out of court to avoid a lengthy trial process. It is quite possible for the attorney and the plaintiff to earn more money if the case is settled out of court.

Here are the details of Florida's Statue of Limitations with regard to the various types of cases that can be filed:

WITHIN TWENTY YEARS

  • An action on a judgment or decree of a court of record in this state.

 

WITHIN FIVE YEARS

  • An action on a judgment or decree of any court, not of record, of this state or any court of the United States, any other state or territory in the United States, or a foreign country.
  • A legal or equitable action on a contract, obligation, or liability founded on a written instrument, except for an action to enforce a claim against a payment bond, which shall be governed by the applicable provisions of paragraph (5)(e), s. 255.05(10), s. 337.18(1), or s. 713.23(1)(e).
  • An action to foreclose a mortgage.
  • An action alleging a willful violation of s. 448.110.
  • Notwithstanding paragraph (b), an action for breach of a property insurance contract, with the period running from the date of loss.

 

WITHIN FOUR YEARS

  • An action founded on negligence.
  • An action relating to the determination of paternity, with the time running from the date the child reaches the age of majority.
  • An action founded on the design, planning, or construction of an improvement to real property, with the time running from the date of actual possession by the owner, the date of the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, the date of abandonment of construction if not completed, or the date of completion or termination of the contract between the professional engineer, registered architect, or licensed contractor and his or her employer, whichever date is latest; except that, when the action involves a latent defect, the time runs from the time the defect is discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence. In any event, the action must be commenced within 10 years after the date of actual possession by the owner, the date of the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, the date of abandonment of construction if not completed, or the date of completion or termination of the contract between the professional engineer, registered architect, or licensed contractor and his or her employer, whichever date is latest.
  • An action to recover public money or property held by a public officer or employee, or former public officer or employee, and obtained during, or as a result of, his or her public office or employment.
  • An action for injury to a person founded on the design, manufacture, distribution, or sale of personal property that is not permanently incorporated in an improvement to real property, including fixtures.
  • An action founded on a statutory liability.
  • An action for trespass on real property.
  • An action for taking, detaining, or injuring personal property.
  • An action to recover specific personal property.
  • A legal or equitable action founded on fraud.
  • A legal or equitable action on a contract, obligation, or liability not founded on a written instrument, including an action for the sale and delivery of goods, wares, and merchandise, and on store accounts.
  • An action to rescind a contract.
  • An action for money paid to any governmental authority by mistake or inadvertence.
  • An action for a statutory penalty or forfeiture.
  • An action for assault, battery, false arrest, malicious prosecution, malicious interference, false imprisonment, or any other intentional tort, except as provided in subsections (4), (5), and (7).
  • Any action not specifically provided for in these statutes.
  • An action alleging a violation, other than a willful violation, of s. 448.110.

 

WITHIN TWO YEARS

  • An action for professional malpractice, other than medical malpractice, whether founded on contract or tort; provided that the period of limitations shall run from the time the cause of action is discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence. However, the limitation of actions herein for professional malpractice shall be limited to persons in privity with the professional.
  • An action for medical malpractice shall be commenced within 2 years from the time the incident giving rise to the action occurred or within 2 years from the time the incident is discovered, or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence; however, in no event shall the action be commenced later than 4 years from the date of the incident or occurrence out of which the cause of action accrued, except that this 4-year period shall not bar an action brought on behalf of a minor on or before the child's eighth birthday. An "action for medical malpractice" is defined as a claim in tort or in contract for damages because of the death, injury, or monetary loss to any person arising out of any medical, dental, or surgical diagnosis, treatment, or care by any provider of health care. The limitation of actions within this subsection shall be limited to the health care provider and persons in privity with the provider of health care. In those actions covered by this paragraph in which it can be shown that fraud, concealment, or intentional misrepresentation of fact prevented the discovery of the injury the period of limitations is extended forward 2 years from the time that the injury is discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence, but in no event to exceed 7 years from the date the incident giving rise to the injury occurred, except that this 7-year period shall not bar an action brought on behalf of a minor on or before the child's eighth birthday. This paragraph shall not apply to actions for which ss. 766.301-766.316 provide the exclusive remedy.
  • An action to recover wages or overtime or damages or penalties concerning payment of wages and overtime.
  • An action for wrongful death.
  • An action founded upon a violation of any provision of chapter 517, with the period running from the time the facts giving rise to the cause of action were discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence, but not more than 5 years from the date such violation occurred.
  • An action for personal injury caused by contact with or exposure to phenoxy herbicides while serving either as a civilian or as a member of the Armed Forces of the United States during the period January 1, 1962, through May 7, 1975; the period of limitations shall run from the time the cause of action is discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence.
  • An action for libel or slander.

 

WITHIN ONE YEAR

  • An action for specific performance of a contract.
  • An action to enforce an equitable lien arising from the furnishing of labor, services, or material for the improvement of real property.
  • An action to enforce rights under the Uniform Commercial Code—Letters of Credit, chapter 675.
  • An action against any guaranty association and its insured, with the period running from the date of the deadline for filing claims in the order of liquidation.
  • Except for actions governed by s. 255.05(10), s. 337.18(1), or s. 713.23(1)(e), an action to enforce any claim against a payment bond on which the principal is a contractor, subcontractor, or sub-subcontractor as defined in s. 713.01, for private work as well as public work, from the last furnishing of labor, services, or materials or from the last furnishing of labor, services, or materials by the contractor if the contractor is the principal on a bond on the same construction project, whichever is later.
  • Except for actions described in subsection (8), a petition for extraordinary writ, other than a petition challenging a criminal conviction, filed by or on behalf of a prisoner as defined in s. 57.085.
  • Except for actions described in subsection (8), an action brought by or on behalf of a prisoner, as defined in s. 57.085, relating to the conditions of the prisoner's confinement.

Exceptions to the Florida Statue of Limitations

As with most statutes, there are exceptions to these general rules. Florida law provides that the period of limitation does not run during any time when the defendant is continuously absent from the state or has no reasonably ascertainable place of abode or work within the state of Florida. This provision shall not extend the period of limitation otherwise applicable by more than 3 years, but shall not be construed to limit the prosecution of a defendant who has been timely charged by indictment or information or other charging document and who has not been arrested due to his or her absence from this state or has not been extradited for prosecution from another state.

For more information on how the statute of limitations might be applicable in your criminal case, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer in St. Petersburg, FL at the Scott and Fenderson Law Firm. We represent individuals who have been the victim of accidents or crimes throughout the stat of Florida and we would be happy to discuss your case with you.

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