What Is The Time Limit For Filing A Personal Injury Lawsuit?

At Zweben Law Group, we understand that the period following a personal injury can be overwhelming and confusing. Knowing the deadlines for filing a lawsuit is crucial, as Florida’s laws are specific about how long you have to take legal action. 

What is the Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations is a legal deadline. In Florida, the time limit for filing most personal injury lawsuits is two years from the date of the incident. This includes cases arising from car accidents, slip-and-fall incidents, and other types of injuries where someone else’s negligence may have been a factor.

Understanding this timeframe is critical for several reasons:

  • Prevents Stale Claims: The statute of limitations helps ensure that claims are made while evidence remains fresh and available. Memories of witnesses can fade, and physical evidence can be lost over time, making it harder to prove a case many years after the incident.
  • Provides Certainty: Setting a legal deadline also provides certainty for both parties. The potential defendant knows that after the period has expired, they are no longer at risk of a lawsuit for that incident.
  • Promotes Justice: The law encourages prompt action to resolve disputes quickly and efficiently, which is considered more just for all involved parties.

Exceptions to the Rule

There are several exceptions to the standard statute of limitations that can extend or shorten the deadline. These situations are rare, and may have exceptions as well:

  • Minor Plaintiffs: If the injured party is a minor, the statute of limitations may begin once they reach the age of majority (18 years old in Florida) under certain circumstances.
  • Discovery Rule: Sometimes, the damage or injury caused by an incident isn’t apparent right away. In such cases, the statute of limitations may start from the date the injury was discovered—or should have reasonably been discovered—rather than the date of the incident.
  • Tolling: Under certain conditions, such as the defendant being out of state or if the injured person is mentally incapacitated, the statute may be “tolled” or paused until those conditions change.

Why Does This Deadline Exist?

This deadline aims to ensure fairness and efficiency in the legal process. Over time, evidence may become less reliable, and witnesses’ memories may fade, making it harder to prove a case. The statute of limitations helps ensure that cases are brought forward while the information remains fresh and available.

The Impact of Missing the Deadline

If you try to file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired, your case will likely be dismissed without being heard. This strict enforcement protects defendants from the indefinite threat of a lawsuit. For you as a claimant, it emphasizes the need to act promptly if you believe you have a case.

Key Considerations:

  • Date of the Injury: Always mark the exact date when the injury occurred.
  • Exceptions to the Rule: In some cases, exceptions might extend (or shorten) the deadline.

Steps to Take Within the Statute of Limitations

To ensure you don’t miss your chance for legal recourse, it’s essential to take specific steps promptly:

  1. Seek Medical Attention: Document your injuries professionally as soon as possible.
  2. Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer: An early consultation can help ensure that all procedural requirements are timely.
  3. Collect Evidence: This can include everything from photos of the incident scene to witness statements.

Taking action within these deadlines is crucial for maintaining your legal rights to compensation. It is imperative that you contact an attorney right away to determine when the Statute of Limitations may run, as the above list is not fully comprehensive, and exceptions sometimes apply.  

Why Timeliness Matters

The statute of limitations and understanding Florida’s comparative fault laws are critical in personal injury cases. At Zweben Law Group, based in Stuart, Florida, we are dedicated to guiding you through this process. If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else’s negligence, acting quickly to preserve your rights is essential.

Contact us at 772-223-5454 or visit us online today to schedule a free initial consultation. Our firm is ready to help you understand your legal options and work towards the compensation you deserve. Don’t let time run out on your potential claim. Let us help you take the necessary steps towards recovery and justice.