Understanding Florida’s Statute Of Limitations

Florida’s statutes of limitations are laws passed by the state legislature to limit the time a plaintiff may seek resolution for a legal dispute. The intention of these laws is to protect defendants from unreasonable delays that could compromise evidence or the justice system.

Except in rare cases, claims filed outside the legal time limits are not accepted, and if they’re considered, the defense will argue against the claim for having been filed after the legal time limit.

Time Limitations for Florida Personal Injury Claims

Florida injury claims must be filed within four years of “discovering” the injury or date of event.

In rare cases, this time limit can be extended. For example, some injuries may take a while to show signs or symptoms, in which case the clock doesn’t start ticking until the victim is able to identify his or her injury.

Most personal injury claims (i.e., car accidents, defective products, etc.) fall into this four-year limitation period.

Medical malpractice claims operate under different provisions. In Florida, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is two years.

Similar to other injury claims, medical malpractice may not be identifiable until after the statute of limitation expires. If a doctor conceals an injury from a patient, for example, the time limit to file a personal injury claim can extend up to seven years. Medical proof or evidence of circumstance is required to satisfy the extension.

There’s no time limit for children less than 8-years-old.

Compensation Limitations in Florida

Florida’s statutes of limitations also “cap” compensation for certain types of damage. Compensatory damages are those which reimburse a plaintiff for necessary expenses such as medical bills and any financial loss related to income.

Florida has no limit for compensatory damages in all personal injury cases.

Non-economic damages reimburse a different kind of loss. For example, pain and suffering is difficult to quantify but considered when evaluating fair compensation for a personal injury case.

In 2017, the Supreme Court of Florida decided to lift compensation caps for medical malpractice cases, ruling the limits unconstitutional.

There is currently no limit for non-economic damages in Florida medical malpractice injury cases.

Finally, punitive damages are those intended to punish, particularly in cases where the defendant acted with gross negligence. Florida currently caps punitive damages at 3X the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000—whichever is greater.

 

Damage Case Limits
Compensatory damages
(i.e., medical bills, lost wages, therapy, etc.)
All personal injury cases None
Non-Economic damages
(i.e., pain and suffering)
Medical malpractice cases None
Punitive damages
(intended to punish)
All personal injury cases The state limits the damages to 3X the amount of compensatory damages
or $500,000; depending on which is greater.

Florida’s statutes of limitations are designed to protect people from frivolous litigation and to promote a fair and equitable justice system.

If you or someone you care about has been injured, don’t wait to contact the Florida personal injury lawyers at Heintz & Becker. We’re renowned for our meticulous preparation of cases and distinguished experience of Florida personal injury law.

To discuss your case with a Florida personal injury attorney, call our office at 941-748-2916 or tell us what happened online to get started now.

If you are unable to come to us, we can come to you.