If you are filing a personal injury lawsuit in the state of Florida, you will want to familiarize yourself with applicable state laws. All personal injury lawsuits are subject to different requirements for filing deadlines. Known as the statute of limitations, these deadlines tell you how long you have to claim compensation for your injury.
Florida Statutes of Limitations for Personal Injury Lawsuits
In order to file a lawsuit in a Florida civil court, you will have to meet the state’s statute of limitations guidelines. Florida requires different deadlines for different case circumstances. Claimant age, type of injury, and nature of accident can all impact your case’s statute of limitations.
For most personal injury cases in Florida, you have four years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. However, you may not know about your injuries until well after the accident. For example, if your employer exposes you to a toxic substance in the workplace, you may not develop symptoms for months or years after the incident. Even after the discovery, you may not associate the injury with the incident until later. In these cases, Florida law can extend your window for filing a lawsuit.
Florida has separate statute of limitations requirements for medical malpractice cases. Medical malpractice lawsuits involve negligence by a medical professional. It can occur through misdiagnosis, improper treatment, botched surgeries, and many other harmful actions. Medical malpractice lawsuits are subject to more complicated statutes of limitations.
- You have two years from the date of injury discovery or at most four years from the date of the malpractice to file a lawsuit.
- If the medical professional concealed the malpractice from you, you have two years from the date of discovery and seven years from the date of the malpractice to file.
- Children are exempt from the statute of limitations if the case begins before the child turns eight.
If you do not file your personal injury lawsuit within the statute of limitations timeframe, it is unlikely that the court will hear it. If you believe that you are eligible for an extension, speak with a personal injury attorney.
How to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Florida
If you are still within the statute of limitations for your personal injury case, speak to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. If you pass the statute of limitations, you lose the chance at gaining compensation for losses suffered during the accident:
- Medical expenses, including hospitalizations, medications, therapy treatments, medical equipment, and additional medical services related to your injuries
- Lost income if you had to stop working in order to recover
- Disability, if your injury leads to the permanent loss of bodily function
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Property damage
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Punitive damages, if especially reckless or dangerous behavior caused your injuries
Filing a personal injury lawsuit in Florida involves a five-step process.
- First, you will meet with your attorney and discuss the facts of your case. Your attorney will launch an investigation into your accident. He or she will speak with witnesses, examine medical documents, review security footage, and gather evidence to craft a compelling claim.
- Next, your attorney will write a claim on your behalf. This document will list your injuries, how the injuries impact your life, and why you require compensatory damages.
- Next, you will enter into negotiations with the at-fault party or an insurance company. Defendants settle most personal injury claims at this point.
- If you do not settle, your attorney will file an official lawsuit in Florida civil court.
- Finally, you will enter the trial process. A judge and jury will hear the facts of your case and decide on a settlement.
If you are filing a personal injury lawsuit, hire an attorney. Your lawyer will support you from consultation to settlement so that you can focus on recovery, not the litigation process.