Every Legal Claim is Subject to One or More Statutes of Limitation
In Florida, as in any state, legal claims must be filed in the appropriate Court of Law in a timely manner in order to be considered validly filed from just the time perspective of the claim, not taking into account the factual or legal validity of the claim. Florida Statutes Section 95.11 generally sets forth the various time limits that govern when a specific type of claim must be filed in order to satisfy the Statute of Limitations (SOL). The time period that applies to most personal injury cases is the four (4) year SOL for Negligence cases. Generally speaking , this means that you have four years from the date the negligent act occurred ( i.e. the date the Incident occurred that was caused by someone else’s negligence that in turn resulted in you being injured or damaged) to either get your legal claim settled or a lawsuit filed against the negligent party(ies). However, if your Incident resulted in someone dying rather than just being injured, a different Wrongful Death SOL applies, and generally speaking, in Florida this is two (2) years from the date of the Incident or the date the wrongful/negligent act occurred.
Another variation/exception to the typical four (4) year Negligence SOL is on a claim for Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Benefits. In those cases, even though your legal claim arises out of a motor vehicle crash that is typically governed by or subject to the four(4) year Negligence SOL whenever you are filing a claim against the negligent party, a UM/UIM claim is actually filed against your own insurance company pursuant to the terms of the insurance policy entered into between you and the insurance company. This policy, from a legal perspective, is a “ Written Contract” and is therefore governed by the SOL that applies to legal claims arising out of Breach of a Written Contract, which in Florida is five(5) years from the date of the breach of the contract, which in a UM/UIM case is typically the date of the car crash.
When your claim involves a claim for Professional Negligence, which includes medical malpractice and other types of professional negligence claims, even though the nature of the claim is still “negligence”, Florida law generally provides that the SOL on such cases is two(2) years rather than four(4).
So, are you confused yet??
There are many other Statutes of Limitation in Florida, and under Federal law (which is oftentimes different form state laws), as well as many other variations, exceptions and nuances not mentioned above, that are important to insuring that your claim is handled or filed in accordance with the appropriate Statute(s) of Limitation that might apply to your legal claim. And here’s The Big Disclaimer: This Blog article is intended for general information purposes only and is expressly not intended to give you legal advice on any particular legal claim. We simply want you, the reader, to know that if you don’t file your legal claim in a timely manner in accordance with the terms of any applicable Florida, or other state, or any Federal SOL, then your claim may be legally invalid as it may be time barred.
For this reason, we strongly urge you to consult with and retain a qualified, experienced and knowledgeable attorney to represent your interests, to listen to your story, and to give you good advice. Those of us here at The Trial Professionals would be happy to discuss your case further with you, so don’t delay, Time is not always on your side, but we are.