Understanding Florida Statute of Limitations And The Discovery Rule

How does the Florida Statute of Limitations and Discovery Rule Apply To Your Case?

A “statute of limitations” is a law that sets a time limit for a victim to sue someone for damages. Every state has different statutes of limitations for different types of accidents, and these laws may vary based on the age of the victim, the amount of loss suffered and other factors.

Florida Statutes of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims

Florida’s statute of limitations for car accidents is dependent on whether the crash resulted in an injury or in death. If someone was injured, the victim has four years to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages, according to Florida Statutes Section 95.11(3)(a). This four-year statute of limitations also applies to property damage claims.

However, if someone dies as a result of the accident, the family must file a wrongful death case within two years of the date of death of the victim, according to Florida Statutes Section 95.11(4)(d).

What If I Miss the Statute of Limitations?

Although a judge may have the power to allow a lawsuit to be filed after the statute of limitations has passed, it is not common for this to happen. Generally, a judge will dismiss a lawsuit that is filed after the statute of limitations has expired.

Because there is so much at stake, it is important to file your lawsuit in a timely manner, even if you think you will eventually settle with the insurance company. If you miss the deadline, the insurance company may have little reason to settle with you and you may lose your chance at compensation.

What Is The Discovery Rule?

There are times when an injury is not immediately apparent. In some cases, an injury may manifest itself long after the initial accident. If this is the case, the victim may have missed the deadline to file a claim, but the “discovery rule” may allow him or her to extend the time allowed to sue for damages.

The discovery rule usually applies in medical malpractice cases in which a doctor has performed some procedure and caused harm to the patient that is not discovered until much later. It must be clear that the victim had no way of knowing about the problem until the statute of limitations had expired. In these cases, the courts use the standard of what a “reasonable person” should have known given the circumstances.

Statutes of limitations may seem straightforward, but there are many complicated exceptions to these rules. A personal injury attorney may be able to help you understand the statute of limitations for your case and determine the best way to file your claim so that you can recover compensation for your accident. For help regarding the statute of limitations for your accident or injury, contact the Orlando and Lakeland personal injury attorneys at David & Philpot today (800.360.7015).